TCN gives reasons for grid collapse despite $1.6b investments

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Despite the $1.6billion investments in transmission lines and substations, the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed Saturday gave excuses why the electricity system has been experiencing incessant system collapse.

While he blamed the mess the investment that was yet to crystalize, lack of full frequency control, absence of spinning reserve and register of events, he also shifted part of the blame to the electricity distribution companies (DisCos), which he said their low utilization of load was accountable for the system collapse.

The TCN, he said, needs to have frequency control to have a stabilized grid, although the company has achieved 49.5 and 50.5Hz from May 2017 to December 2018 and 49.75 to 50.25Hz still in December which is almost 80% of the time instead of 100%.

According to him, the company also needs to have spinning reserve as with the average generation of 4,000mw, the spinning reserve is supposed to be 400mw, but the TCN has 0mw spinning reserve.

Mohammed who was briefing reporters in Abuja on the recent system instability in the country, dropped the hint that the company has done competitive procurement of spinning reserve, under the directive of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for the 260mw, which would still be inadequate but better for a stable grid.

He however noted that the commission was yet to approve the procurement of the 260mw spinning reserve.

Mohammed said for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to have a stable grid, it must have a register of event that will register any player on the grid to observe activities in the grid.
Read Also: TCN explains collapse of national grid

Since there is no register of event, it is impossible to see violators of the grid and to mete out the necessary sanctions to them.

The TCN boss said that “the kind of grid we are managing, whenever it rains the whole supply will go down. Even Abuja that is that is built like a model city that is under ground, if it rains, you discover that the power of Abuja goes down. The down tool of distribution network can also lead to system collapse.”

He noted that this is the reason that he has always called for the recapitalization of the DisCos to match the level of investment that the transmission company has achieved.

Usman said that “if you look at the interface between us and the distribution companies there is no adequate protection. As we speak with you most of the network, it is the TCN protection that is also providing protection for evoke houses, which is not normal.”

He revealed that out of the 738 interfaces with the DisCos, only 421 have have full protection on the sides of the DisCos.

Apart from pointing accusing the DisCos of low investments in equipment that should enable them absolve more load, he accepted the TCN has invested in the grid it still the fund is yet to crystallize.

His words: “You are aware that we raised significant of investments in lines and substations up to $1.6billion. But you know that the investment in transmission takes time, it is not something you can fix in one day.

“Of course, we have used our staff, using the equipment we recovered from ports (730 containers) out of 800 containers. That we have been able to invest in the lines and substations. But we are not yet there because the critical acclaim investment from even the donors are not yet crystallized.”

Mohammed “our grid is still fragile. It is a journey that will take us to a stabilized grid.”

On the Apo incident, he explained that what happened in Apo recently where we had a transformer that got burnt, TCN restored supply within two hours because of its possession of N-1 equipment.

He said that it means that “we should have line in loop so that if there is problem in one line we can shift from it. That is what it means by critical investment in line and substations.”

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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