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ECOWAS countries plan single power grid in 2019

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The West African Power Pool (WAPP) has disclosed plans to connect to a single power grid by 2019.

The Chairman, WAPP Executive Board, and Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Usman Gur Muhammed disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.

He spoke after an ECOWAS sensitisation meeting on Regional Electricity Market Agenda.

According to the projection, all the 14 land-based countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would be involved in the connection.

Currently, the West Africa electricity grid links nine countries, while the six others are scheduled to come on-stream by the end of next year.

Muhammed said to actualise the target; additional transmission lines have been planned for the north, which links Nigeria to five other countries.

He, however, cautioned that the project’s success would depend on the ability of WAPP to get a guarantee that carries a load of 340MW power.

He explained that WAPP “is in charge of creating power infrastructure across West Africa to enable energy exchange.

On the other hand, ECOWAS Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERERA) is a body that regulates energy trade across West Africa.

The chairman said the two agencies were in the country to sensitise Nigerians on the plan to launch the electricity market in June, in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.

He allayed the fear of Nigerians about the impact of exporting electricity from the country, when the local market was yet to be fully served.

The TCN boss canvassed that electricity be viewed as any other product that could be produced and sold.

“If you produce power at a cheaper rate and have surplus that cannot be consumed immediately, it could be explored
to earn foreign exchange for the country,” he said.

He added that the abundance of gas in Nigeria has given us a comparative advantage in the generation of electricity, which the country must leverage to promote trade across the sub-region.

Also speaking, the Secretary General of WAPP, Mr. Siengui Ki Appolinaire revealed that challenges in Nigeria’s power sector are similar to other West African countries.

According to him, it was important that those who buy electricity pay for it, just as those who supply electricity are also paid for the product.

He said a regional control centre would be established in Benin Republic, with a backup centre in Ikeja, Lagos.


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