*As TCN Intensifies Effort On Grid, Transmission Expansions

 

*Commissions 1× 100 MVA, 132/33kV power transformer at Katampe.

By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja

Nigerian Government has stressed the need to continue to revamp its power sector to curb the increasing spending in diesel purchases estimated 300 million litres monthly just as the electricity industry loses N24 billion monthly.

The nation’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, declared this in an opening remarks at the 24th monthly power sector meeting hosted by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at its Substation Katampe, Abuja.

Earlier, the Minister had commissioned the installed additional 1× 100 MVA, 132/33kV power transformer at Katampe.

He said that although much were being done to ensure increased power generation, transmission and distribution, the government would not relent until the spendings in purchase of fuel and diesel for powering of generating sets in private homes and business premises were reduced.

According to Fashola who represented by the Minister of state, Suleiman Hasssan, ” Diesel importation has been declining over the last two years. Many are reporting that they ran their generators for noticeably few hours. This is progress.

“However, Nigerians still consume about 300 million litres of diesel every month and most of this is used to power generators.

“About 75 per cent is imported, putting pressure on scarce foreign exchange. Assuming 40 per cent of the consumption is used for power generation at an average of price of N200 per litre, electricity industry is losing N24 billion every month largely to imported energy.

“At the same time, there is about 2,000MW of electricity generating capacity that is unutilised. Therefore the challenge of the moment before the industry is how to deliver the unutilised capacity to consumers who are willing to pay for it and are already paying dearly for alternatives.

“Problems like this require creative solutions and we don’t have any time to waste. The N701 billion intervention program is a creative solution that appears to be having the desired effect for stabilising the gas and generation end of the electricity industry.

“If we can creatively and constructively focus on specific win-win projects, four policies provide effective tool to quickly resolve the challenges we now face. The first two, the eligible customer regulation and the meter service provider regulation are already subjects of detailed discussions and NERC regulatory action.”

At the commissioning of the newly installed transformer at Katampe, Fashola applauded the project, saying that with new transformer, the Katampe earlier capacity of 120 MVA had been raised to 220MVA.

Similarly, he said the Apo 132/33kV substation has been raised from 190MVA to 290 MVA.

He explained that the listed communities below are expected to experience remarkable improvement in power supply. The communities include Gwarinpa, Life Camp, Jabi, Kado, Wuye, Maitama, Mpape, Katempe 1 and II, Jahi, Mabushi Garki, Gudu, Guzape, Asokoro, Apo Resettlement, Wumba, Apo Mechanic Village and part of Lugbe and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport all located within the FCT Abuja.

According to Fashola, “TCN also has advertised for upgrading the capacity of Central Area 132/33kV Substation. This project is part of the Nigerian Electricity Transmission Project (NETAP) financed by the World Bank as a successor to NEGIP.

TCN is also implementing the Abuja Transmission Scheme (ATS) financed by Agence Francaise De Development (AFD). The procurement process for the projects under the scheme has reached an advanced stage.

“Five new Substations and a the third 330kV transmission line into Abuja in addition to Shiroro-Abuja and Ajaokuta-Abuja 330kV transmission line will be constructed as part of ATS. Two of the new Stations 330/132/33kV Substations under ATS will be sited at the West Main (Lugbe) and New Apo, while the three new 132/33kV substations will be sited at Lokogoma, Kuje and Gwarinpa. They are expected to cater for the transmission needs of Abuja in a long while.”

Also speaking, the newly appointed substantive Managing Director of TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed,

noted that between April 2017 when the TCN hosted the meeting in Osogbo and now, the company has invested immensely in grid capacity rehabilitation and expansion through in-house efforts mustered by its engineers.

He disclosed that the current transmission (wheeling) capacity stands at about 7,124 MW, adding that it has concluded plans to procure high capacity conductors to upgrade most of the 132/33kV substations where line limitation has curtailed the utilisation of transformer capacities in various substations.

Saying that the TCN’s Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion programme endorsed by various donors were prepared in line with the 20 year Transmission Expansion Plan, he said the five projects earmarked for implementation under the programme costing $1.57 billion were on track.

He said the company is working hard to complete on going projects and had cleared several stranded containers as the minister had helped in negotiating 50 percent with concerned shipping and terminal agents.