Benin Faces Repeated Power Outages as SBEE Explains Situation

Benin faces power crisis due to fire at Nigerian power plant, highlighting its dependence on imports and need to develop domestic generation capacity.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Benin Faces Repeated Power Outages as SBEE Explains Situation

Benin Faces Repeated Power Outages as SBEE Explains Situation

Benin has been experiencing frequent power outages in recent weeks, causing widespread disruptions for businesses and residents. The Société Béninoise d'Energie Electrique (SBEE), the country's national power utility, has provided an explanation for the recurring blackouts.

According to SBEE, a fire erupted at the Afam V 330kV bus bar coupler in Nigeria, leading to the tripping of units at Afam III and Afam VI power plants. This incident resulted in a sudden generation loss of 25MW and 305MW respectively, destabilizing the power grid that supplies electricity to Benin.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was able to restore the system by the early afternoon on the day of the incident. However, the power supply to Benin remained affected, with load-shedding measures implemented to manage the reduced generation capacity.

Nigeria, which supplies a significant portion of Benin's electricity, has twenty-three power-generating plants connected to its national grid with a total capacity of 11,165.4MW. However, the country's power demand far exceeds this capacity, with an estimated 40,000MW needed to meet the needs of its 200 million citizens.

The insufficient power generation in Nigeria has led to ongoing load-shedding, partial and total grid collapses, and widespread blackouts, which have spilled over to affect Benin's power supply. The latest grid collapse in Nigeria occurred on Monday, April 15, 2024, just a day before the current power outages in Benin.

TCN has attributed the recurring grid failures in Nigeria to factors such as gas shortages, vandalism of power infrastructure , and liquidity crises in the power sector. These challenges have hindered Nigeria's ability to generate and transmit sufficient electricity to meet its domestic demand and export commitments to neighboring countries like Benin.

Why this matters: The repeated power outages in Benin highlight the country's dependence on Nigeria for its electricity supply and the vulnerability of its power sector to external shocks. The blackouts have caused significant economic losses and disruptions to daily life, underscoring the need for Benin to develop its own power generation capacity and diversify its energy sources to ensure a more reliable and stable electricity supply for its citizens and businesses.

SBEE has assured the public that it is working closely with TCN to restore normal power supply to Benin as soon as possible. The utility has also urged customers to exercise patience and understanding during this challenging period. As Benin contends with the power crisis, the government is expected to accelerate efforts to develop the country's power infrastructure and reduce its reliance on imports from Nigeria.

Key Takeaways

  • Benin is experiencing frequent power outages due to fire at a Nigerian power plant.
  • Nigeria's insufficient power generation capacity led to grid collapses, affecting Benin.
  • Factors like gas shortages, infrastructure vandalism, and liquidity issues hinder Nigeria's power supply.
  • Benin's power sector is vulnerable to external shocks due to dependence on Nigeria.
  • Benin aims to develop its own power capacity and reduce reliance on Nigerian imports.