By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

The Federal Government, FG, has expressed optimism that the various funding arrangements amounting to about $4 billion it has put in place to boost power transmission capacity and other power infrastructure in the country would lead to improved power supply to Nigerians.

Nigeria’s electricity supply in the past two weeks went through turbulent time, following the inability of power generation companies (GENCOs) to put load on the national grid. 

The imbalance, amongst other factors, led to the collapse of the grid twice during the period.

But the FG has said that it has taken steps to support the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which manages the grid and the transmission network across the country to improve capacity and maintain grid stability.

The government said it has in the past few years arranged about $4 billion in funding to boost transmission and distribution capacity while also supporting power generation.

This support, the government said, has resulted in the importation 15 power transformers which would raise the national transmission wheeling capacity by 1,487 Megawatts. This will improve the transmission to 7,000MW. 

The brand new power transformers were received at the Apapa port, Lagos in what officials described as a historic event for the entire power sector. 

The transformers comprise 10 units of 60MVA transformer for 132/33kV line capacity and five units of 150MVA 330/132kV capacity transformers delivered to TCN Central Store in Ojo, Lagos State, for onward delivery to various TCN project sites nationwide.

Speaking on the effort by the FG to boost transmission network, the Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, said the arrival of the multiple power transformers along with other initiatives would ensure that transmission capacity would be ahead of available generation capacity.

“I am also pleased to announce that we have begun implementation of the Siemens PPI with the purchase of 10 mobile transformers and 10 substations.

“The pre-engineering segment of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) contract is complete and we expect contract offers on 127 Transmission and Distribution projects (Brownfield and Greenfield) from Siemens.”

Aliyu also said for better utilisation of energy generated on the national grid, the federal government has many key grid initiatives with more than N125.2 billion budgeted between 2015 to 2021 for TCN and Development Finance Funding through World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), French development agency (AFD), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and others of up to $1.7 billion.

He stated further that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is funding $250 million for the rehabilitation of critical interfaces between Transmission and Distribution to increase and stabilize power delivery.

Additionally, through the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), the Nigerian government is bringing $2 billion or more to the transmission grid.

He stated further: “This is almost $4 billion secured by this administration to augment the Grid. It should be noted that many of these funds are being actively spent and the results will be felt over time. We are working tirelessly to ensure that all of these investments translate to incremental delivered power”. 

Elaborating further on the efforts of the government at strengthening power transmission which is a core part of the value chain that was not privatized, the minister said TCN was delivering 135 ongoing transmission lines, substations and other associated grid infrastructure projects.

“There are 135 ongoing projects for transmission lines, substations and other associated grid infrastructure. TCN has completed 30 key Substation Projects and 12 important Transmission Lines,” he noted.

The Minister listed some of the projects to include the resuscitation of the second Egbin-Ajah Transmission Line and the recently commissioned NDPHC Lafia 2X150 MVA & 2X60 /132/33/330 KV Transmission Substation (under NIPP); the 330kV Quad Lines from Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin as well as the Kano to Katsina 330kV line. There is also the Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project under JICA funding.

He pointed out that TCN had completed 30 key substation projects and 12 important transmission lines.

“Recently through the CBN intervention for Transmission-Distribution interfaces we have also awarded more than 30 Substation Rehabilitations and 1,570MVA transformer capacity upgrades with 34 critical transformers to be installed or replaced”.

Speaking on the latest acquisitions, the acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TCN, Engr. Dr. SuleAbdulaziz, said the contract for the supply of the transformers under the Nigerian Electricity Transmission Project (NETAP) was funded by the World Bank.

He also noted that TCN has mapped out the substations where the transformers will be installed. According to the TCN helmsman, on installation and connection of the transformers to the national power grid, the increased transmission capacity will be 637MW from 10 of the 60MVA 132/33kV power transformers and another 850MW through the five units of the 150MVA 330/132kV transformers.

This will be an additional 1,487MW transmission network capacity while ensuring N-1 reliability criteria in the substations, which is strategic in enhancing grid stability. 

He explained that in August last year, the World Bank also funded transformer supply contracts which brought in 10 units of 60MVA132/33kV transformers and 25 earthing transformers. Out of the 10 units of 60MVA transformers, five were installed in Karu and Gombe substations; two are currently being installed in Kano, and one in Lagos State. 

According to him, “This is the first time in the history of TCN that it took delivery of large numbers of transformers within a short period. These are milestone achievements for TCN, as it strives to implement its short-term development plan under the Nigerian Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion, and Rehabilitation Programme (NEGMERP).”

The World Bank-sponsored NETAP project is one of the TCN donor-funded projects aimed at expanding the transmission grid, while also prioritizing maintenance of the existing transmission infrastructures”.

Aliyu said TCN was equally executing several projects funded by the AgenceFrançais de Développement (AFD) while processes for projects funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is progressing very fast and TCN will soon sign contracts for 330kV & 132kV Substations.

He also said the procurement of consultants for projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will soon commence.

On his part, the Assistant General Manager, Material Control and Stores at TCN stores in Ojo, Lagos, Engr. Pius Nwachi, who gave an insight into the delivery of the power equipment stated: “We had 10 units of 60MVA transformers that came in and out of that we have sent out five of them already. We are also taking delivery of another set of 100MVA power transformer while others including 150MVA power transformers have been discharged.”

He added that the transformers did not come alone as TCN ensured that they were procured with enough accessories and transformer oil. This is to ensure that maintenance is seamless as we have the parts in the store.

“All these crates you are seeing, they are the accessories of the transformers and the transformer oil.”

He explained that some of the transformers have been sent out to installation sites, adding that “One of the 60MVA power transformers was taken to Egbin to complete a substation project there within the Lagos region. TCN also sent one to Gombe and another 60MVA transformer to Karu in Abuja.

“Of the 10 units of 60MVA power transformers that TCN has acquired, five have already been discharged to various sites while five are on ground for onward deployment.

“In a short while, TCN will be announcing the commissioning of these various power substation projects which will then boost bulk power supply available to distribution load centres in those areas,” noted Nwachi.

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