Business

How we’re eliminating transmission losses, by TCN chief

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is working to reduce technical losses from the transmission segment of the power value chain, it was learnt.

Its Managing Director, Mr Usman Gur Mohammed, who disclosed this during energy reporters’ visit to his office, in Abuja, said part of what TCN management did to fix the transmission losses was restructuring the grid metering department.

“Before, this department is controlled from the headquarters, we have now ceded the grid metering to regional managers. Inspectors from the headquarters visit the regions from time to time to inspect them to ensure they are doing the right thing.

“We will also meter all our lines and our substations and we are beginning with Lagos so that at any point in time, we will know who is contributing the highest losses to the system. We are starting with 200 meters for Lagos because Lagos has between 30 to 40per cent of our transmission capacity. If we intervene in Lagos, we have intervened in about 30 to 40per cent. We have started Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). Human interface created a lot of problems that will give us credible data to monitor our losses.”

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On how the TCN will secure funds to finance operations for quality and satisfactory service delivery to Nigerians, Mohammed said: “The best option should be our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), but unfortunately it is not so because of our tariff. When we came in 2017, we made a case for tariff review, and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) agreed that our tariff is less than what we are supposed to get. Unfortunately, they could not review the tariff.

He said before now, TCN was getting less than 30 per cent of its tariff, which is not sustainable to raise money in the industry for investment. “We don’t get appropriation for our operations. Appropriations are for those contracts included in the National Assembly budget, which are mostly tied to constituencies of members of the National Assembly. We need sustainable money to finance the network. The only option that we have is to go to multinational donors because they have long gestation period,” he said.

He continued:“Most times, they have five year moratorium period and 20 years repayment period. That would give us enough time to be able to do other development activities that will make the TCN to be able to pay this money by itself. And that is why we have gone to the multinational donors and we have raised $1.661billion. Those monies are – World Bank’s $496million, which are to be used for existing substation lines and targeting brownfield projects.  In terms of implementation, we have completed pre-qualification for the projects 1&2, project 3 is still at prequalification. We have not touched the money yet.

According to him, the next project is Abuja scheme, the only one whose contract agreement has been signed. “The contract is effective, it is $170million sponsored by AFD (French Development Agency,” he said.

Mohammed also stated that the company has installed over 40 power transformers in less than two years, expanded the grid capacity from 5000Mw to 8100MW as at December 2018, when the management did the last simulation. “We have removed 775 containers out of 830 containers that have been hanging in the ports for over 15 years. Some of them have been auctioned. We have expanded the grid by adding 3100Mw and we have achieved frequency control that has not been achieved in the history of Nigeria,” he said.

We have secured 280Mw into our spinning reserve which was the first time spinning reserve has been created.

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