Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: EDUCATION IMAGES/UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: EDUCATION IMAGES/UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Abuja — Nigeria’s electricity grid has been shut down by a fire on a gas pipeline, the ministry of power said on Wednesday, underscoring the instability of the country’s creaking power infrastructure.

Nigeria’s dilapidated power grid is often blamed for hobbling growth in Africa’s largest economy, despite efforts to improve it through privatisation.

Many businesses and households have their own power generators as a back-up for the country’s frequent blackouts.

Gas supply to several power stations was cut off because of the fire on the Escravos Lagos pipeline system near Okada in the southern state of Edo, the ministry said.

"The sudden loss of generation due to interruption in gas supply from these stations caused the national transmission grid to trip off around 8.20pm on January 2," it said.

Most of Nigeria’s power generation is from thermal power stations that use gas, said the ministry.

Nigeria’s state oil firm, which owns and operates the gas pipelines, is working to restore gas supply on the affected pipelines, it said.

"Once the national grid is restored, output from the hydroelectric power stations and all other unaffected gas-fired thermal power stations will be increased to the extent possible to minimise the impact of loss of generation from the affected power stations," the ministry said.

Reuters