TCN seeks end to transmission challenges with 105 projects, $2b interventions
•Govt may reposition TCN to two entities, Aliyu says
•Stakeholders eye grid reliability, improved transmission network
The Federal Government, through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has completed about 105 projects between 2015 and 2022 in a move to strengthen substations and power transmission networks.
Another $2 billion worth of projects funded by international donors, especially Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), African Development Bank, World Bank and French Development Agency, are similarly targeted to overhaul the national grid.
In 2013, the Federal Government took a bold step of privatising the power sector. The change in ownership was against the backdrop of the despondent nature of the sector, which affected standards of living and crippled economic growth.
Although Nigeria has about 13,000MW generation capacity, bottlenecks have hindered dispatch to homes and industries as less than 5,000MW is transmitted and distributed.
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu insisted that the project being completed by the TCN would provide succour to the state of the supply.
Aliyu, in a document made available to journalists noted that 105 Power Transformer projects were completed during the period 2015 – 2022 to add a capacity of 6,216MVA to the grid, with 73 of the power transformers installed by TCN engineers in substations across the nation.
Aliyu noted that a total of up to 900 kilometres of reconductoring and construction of new transmission lines was completed during the period 2015 – 2022. Some of the key lines, he said included reconductoring of 140km 132kV Birnin- Kebbi to Sokoto transmission line (April 2021), completion of 330kV Aloji – Ikot Ekpene transmission line,completion of 132kV Ihovbor – Okada transmission line, completion of 330kV Gombe – Damaturu transmission line among others.
Aliyu stated further that some transmission line projects are nearing completion and expected to be commissioned by the first six months of 2023.
The Minister said the Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme is being financed by the multilateral agencies; World Bank, AFD, AfDB, JICA, which is valued at around $2 billion are at various levels of completion.
Aliyu disclosed that the projects are estimated to create around 45,000 direct and indirect jobs during the execution stages.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Dr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz said the organisation is embarking on a facelift of its facilities across the country to address prevailing challenges, adding that the agency is strategically transforming TCN through the upgrade of facilities, prompt maintenance, rehabilitation, grid expansion, and manpower development.
He said: “These were accomplished in spite of the challenges such as insurgency, vandalism, communal clashes and encroachment of transmission Right of Way (RoW).”
He also said a lot of old substations have been reinforced with new transformers and associated switchgear; old transmission lines are also being reconducted.
The company’s head said TCN has also awarded contracts for several new transmission lines as part of its priority projects, while some of the construction works are ongoing others are at different stages of completion. These include reconductoring of 16 transmission lines, and 17 others under the Service Level Agreement (SLA) projects to further reinforce the grid for optimal evacuation and transmission of bulk electricity.
“We must resolve to continually face our challenges head-on by constantly looking for ways to improve our revenue capacity and capability to deliver on our mandate,” Abdulaziz noted while urging stakeholders on cooperation.
However, the Nigerian Power Consumers Forum (NPCF), has urged the government to match transmission investments with the generation and distribution sections.
The Convener of NPCF, Michael Okoh, said: “We commend the federal government for the massive investments at the transmission level. However, only such critical power transmission grid investments, backed by a matching strength at the DisCos’ networks, and even at the GenCos’ stations, can bring succour to power consumers.”
Okoh explained that the milestones of TCN can be much more applauded when power consumers begin to record more power supply. He commended TCN for being proactive in expanding the bulk power needs of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
“Planning is very crucial and TCN has done well especially for the Abuja ring project because the population of the capital city is increasing and it’s good we have an agency that is thinking that way in terms of power sector investments,” Okoh noted.
Also speaking, the advocacy team lead of NPCF, Malam Yusuf Bako, said: “TCN is on the right track and we urge them to accelerate these projects because all that the consumer needs is improved power supply. Government should do more of such investments and compel the Distribution Companies (DisCos) to do the same.”