The federal government has extended the management contract between the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Manitoba Hydro International Limited (MHI) of Canada by one year.
The extension of the contract followed a three-year management contract signed in 2012 under which MHI was meant to manage TCN’s transmission grid, system and market operations, as well as train TCN personnel.
The three-year contract, which was signed by TCN, MHI and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and which would expire on July 31, 2015, has now been extended to July 31, 2016.
The renewal of the contract was done in defiance of recent threats by members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to legally resist the renewal of MHI’s management contract with TCN.
The initial three-year contract period, which expires this month, has now been extended by one year. It will expire on July 31, 2016.
A timely intervention by the World Bank and the Department of International Development (DFID) had saved Manitoba Hydro International from losing its contract with the Federal Government despite initial dissatisfaction of government with the Canadian firm’s performance.
The Guardian learnt that the World Bank and the DFID of the United Kingdom intervened in the past in the Ministry of Power-led efforts to revoke Manitoba’s three-year contract to manage the TCN.
With the conclusion of an arrangement between the Federal Government and Manitoba in respect of the contract, Manitoba Hydro formally assumed control of TCN operations on July 30, 2012, though the actual handover was initially delayed because of conflicting interests of some actors in government. The $23 million agreement handed over the management of the TCN to Manitoba for a period of three years, during which local workers would understudy their operations and a transfer of skills was expected to take place.
Manitoba was also expected to turn TCN into a technically and financially efficient, stable, and sustainable company; a company that will be market-driven and capable of utilizing its maximum generation capacity and then distributing the energy throughout Nigeria 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is not clear how much of this the company has achieved.
Manitoba was also to reorganize TCN such that the Transmission System Operation (TSP) becomes a separate entity from the Market Operator (MO) and System Operator (SO), allowing it to become a privatised commercial company. This, The Guardian learnt, is still pending.
But in a statement yesterday in Abuja, TCN announced that the Federal Government has signed a one-year extension of its current management contract with Manitoba.
The statement reads in part: “The extension follows a three-year Management Contract signed in 2012 to manage TCN’s electrical power transmission, system operation and market operation undertakings, as well as train TCN personnel. The contract, which was signed by TCN, MHI and the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and which would expire on July 31, 2015, has now been extended to July 31, 2016.”
General Manager (Public Affairs) of TCN, Seun Olagunju, noted that Manitoba would continue to assume responsibility for the management and control of TCN’s entire operations, working alongside their Nigerian counterparts to transform the company into a technically and financially efficient, stable, and sustainable organisation.
She noted: “Working together with TCN staff, MHI has achieved a wheeling capacity of 5,300 MW and reduced system losses from over 12 per cent to approximately eight per cent. In addition, system collapses have reduced significantly, from 22 in 2013 to 9 in 2014, while the duration of collapses has reduced from more than 2.5 hours to approximately 30 minutes.