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ABUJA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - 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, often costly and run on fuel, as a backup 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 20:20 on 2nd January," it said in a statement.
Most of Nigeria's power generation is from thermal power stations that use gas, according to the ministry.
Nigeria's state oil firm, which owns and operates the gas pipelines, is working to restore gas supply on the affected pipelines, the statement 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 statement said. (Reporting by Tife Owolabi; writing by Paul Carsten; editing by Jason Neely and Adrian Croft)