Nigeria’s transmission network gets N540b boost

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Nigeria’s transmission network will soon receive a boost as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) has embarked on an investment of over $1.5 billion (N540 billion) in relevant infrastructure.

The investment is expected to tackle the transmission inadequacies in the power sector.The development comes as Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says the production of electricity from power plants across Nigeria has reached 7,001 megawatts (mw) from the 2,069mw recorded in 2015.

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, told National Daily that even though the generation companies (Gencos) have power generation capacity of 12,500 megawatts (mw) per day and with expansion capacity of doubling it, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the distribution companies (Discos) have ill-equipped infrastructure to evacuate and distribute the generated power.

But the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chiedu Ugbo, yesterday, at The Guardian Power Summit, “Beyond Rhetoric: Turning Nigeria’s Power Sector Value Chain Potential to Profit,” disclosed that NDPHC has embarked on several transmission, distribution and gas projects to bridge infrastructure gap in the sector.

Ugbo listed the transmission projects to include a 5,590 MVA of 330/132kV transformer capacity; 313 MVA of 132/33kV transformer capacity; 2,194 km of 330kV lines; 809 km of 132kV lines; 10 new 330kV S/Stations; seven new 132kV S/Stations and expansion of 36 existing 330kV and 132kV S/Station.

Ugbo said that NDPHC was only granted a licence to generate electricity.“The interventions in the various segments of gas transportation, transmission and distribution infrastructure are meant to be transferred to appropriate licensee and statutory agencies while generation assets are to be privatised,” he said.

On power sector achievements since 2015, at the summit, Fashola said that the Federal Government’s effort to provide electricity was yielding positive results.According to him, as at September 4, 2017, the available power that could be put on the grid was 6,619 mw while the transmission capacity was simulated at 6,700 mw, up from 5,000 mw in 2015. “Production reached all time high of 7,001mw.”

The minister, however, put the distribution capacity at 4,600 mw. Fashola noted that the achievement could not be attributed to the regular rainfall, which is known to contribute to the generating capacity of hydro power plants. “I acknowledge that there will be cynics who will say it was because of the rains. True enough, the rains contributed to the hydro power increase, but the total hydro capacity available with the rains from Jebba, Kainji and Shiroro as of 4th of September 2017 was about 1,000 mw. So it is the gas thermal plants, arising from peace efforts and pipeline repairs that made up the difference that made the total available power of 6619mw that was produced.”

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He disclosed that the government is also looking at licensing some private power plants that have generation licences and excess power, but no distribution licence, to grant them permits to willing buyers especially in industrial clusters under regulations made by Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Fashola assured that the completion of the 240mw Afam power plant; 10mw Katsina wind farm; 29mw Dadin Kowa hydro plant; 30mw Gurara Hydro plant; 40mw Kashimbilla Hydro power plant; Kaduna 215mw plant; Zungeru 700 mw Hydro plant and the Mambilla 3050mw Hydro plant would in the nearest future increase the country’s generating capacity.

On “The Role of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC)”, Ugbo lamented Discos’ inability to pick the load.According to him, with the resolution of the gas supply challenge for the plants in the Western Delta and the gas and transmission infrastructure challenge in the Eastern Delta and improved generation, the sector is facing a new set of challenges, which include resultant generation constraint as a result of system frequency control.

The Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, said that available statistics showed that about 70 to 80 per cent of installed meters have been bypassed by customers.

To tackle the issue, Akpeneye called for a significant investment in smart meters’ tamper proof technology.He also recommended that all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) should be migrated to pre-paid meters to forestall having to deal with accumulated debts.

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