TCN shops for N2.3tn to transit 10,000MW electricity

The Transmission Company of Nigeria says it will require $7.5bn (about N2.3tn) to wheel 10,000 megawatts of electricity, which is the target of the Federal Government by 2019.

It also declared that power distribution companies were still rejecting electricity load being allocated to them for onward transfer to their various customers.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Dr. Abubakar Atiku, stated these in Abuja on Monday at a press conference.

He said part of the firm’s strategic five-year plan was to boost its transmission capability to 8,200MW by the end of 2018, to ensure steady power supply.

This, he said, would be realised by completing eight of its new projects in 2018.

He said that the ultimate expansion programme was designed to ensure the completion of 59 projects by 2019 in line with the government’s realisation of 10,000MW.

Atiku said that the completion of the projects would eventually lead to a total transmission capacity of 11,500MW.

He explained that the five-year plan had also been carefully developed with the overall aim of realising an uninterrupted power supply with the realisation of 20,000MW by 2022.

Giving a breakdown of the funding arrangement, Atiku said it was expected to receive concessionary loans and grants of $3.4bn from the TCN’s support international finance agencies.

He said the Federal Government was expected to contribute $1.5bn, while the financing initiatives of the TCN were expected to contribute $2.6bn in realisation of the project.

Atiku said that to key into the incremental power plan of the government, the TCN planned to complete 22 critical projects captured in the 2016 budget.

He said that the TCN had increased its present transmission capacity from 5,500MW to 6,000MW, adding that efforts were on to increase the wheeling capacity to 7,500MW with the completion of 31 projects by 2017.

He said that TCN had restored unavailable service equipment to strengthen the national grid.

According to him, with the restoration of critical equipment hitherto neglected by the previous management, the transmission system has been relatively stable with zero system collapse.

Abubakar also said the recent exit of a Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International, as the management contractors for the TCN, would save Nigeria about N10.4bn ($34m).

The Federal Government had contracted the MHI Nigeria Limited and the management contract was for an initial period of three years, from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2015. This was extended by one year to July 31, 2016.

He denied claims that the TCN was the weakest link in the power sector value chain, stressing that blackouts were caused mostly by the Discos, who were rejecting load allocated to them.

Atiku said, “Let me assure the Gencos and Discos and indeed the generality of Nigerians that the TCN is determined to improve its services such that it does not appear and will not be the weakest link in the power sector value chain. At the moment, the weakest link is truly identified as those distribution companies rejecting customers load; thereby throwing them into darkness, resulting in the lowering of generation, although we have the capacity to generate more.

“I don’t want to mention the distribution companies that are doing this, but they know themselves. Most of them are load-shedding 11KV for two to three hours, and this is simply because they cannot pay to the Market Operator all the allocation given to them. So they use that technique or method to deprive customers of power.”

He argued that the primary interest of foreigners or expatriates was mainly the financial benefits from their engagement with Nigeria, adding that all funding commitments from international agencies with TCN under the management contractors remained valid.

He noted that all contracts sealed with investors would be executed in line with the contractual obligations agreed by all parties.

Atiku said, “On this note, l wish to allay the fears expressed in some quarters that with the termination of the management contract, our concessionary loans and grants by multinational funding agencies such as the World Bank will be withdrawn.”