By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

With several light industries and huge housing estates springing up across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has accelerated the execution of its plan that would boost electricity transmission network in Abuja by 624 Megawatts.

The plan which has been in the making since 2018 gained traction under the management of Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, TCN Managing Director/CEO, is expected on completion to address a 20-year energy demand index in the nation’s capital.

The project, Abuja Feeding Scheme, which attracted funding support from the French Development Agency, AFD, would improve power supply to industries, small businesses, support modern agriculture and residential areas of the city.

According to TCN, the Abuja Feeding Scheme “is a vision that is no longer on paper but has its footprints practically at five major sites within Abuja with key components to be ready this year”.

Speaking after a visit to the sites, the leadership of the  Nigerian Power Consumers Forum (NPCF) said Engr. Abdulaziz has brought his over 25 years of engineering experience and responsibility as a tested project manager to bear in project initiation and execution in the company.

A project status report cited by the forum stated that the project is set for completion and commissioning by the year end. Among the first scheduled to be completed is the 132Kv Dawaki Gas Insulated Substation, GIS, near Gwarimpa.

 The project comprises a 330kV substation, four 132kV substations and their transmission lines, as well as a 330kV transmission line from Lafia to Abuja.

According to a report on the project signed by the Lead, Advocacy Team of NPCF, Malam Bako Yusuf, officials of the Project Management Unit informed the forum that, upon operation, the facilities will expand the transmission wheeling capacity in Abuja, such that the Nigerian capital city will not experience power transmission constraints in the next 20 years.

Earlier, AFD officials during an on-the-spot assessment of the projects commended TCN for their prompt execution. The team led by the AFD Country Director, Mr. Xavia Murou stated that the 2x60MVA 132/33kV Gwarimpa Gas Insulated Substation was well executed.

In his words, “We are very impressed with progress made in executing the project because we know it has taken a lot of time to start up, but now, we can see a lot of work going on. Hopefully, very soon, communities will start benefiting from it and that is exactly what we are aiming for. Being closer to achievement, it is important for us to make sure that the project continues seamlessly.”

Also speaking during an inspection, the AFD Energy Project Manager, Anne-Sophie Rakoutz, who lauded TCN for the progress made so far, said: “It is great to see the projects being built up and almost being completed. TCN is doing a very good job, given the fact that this kind of job is quite complex. Also, the engineers have reported that this project will clearly reinforce the stability of the grid and contribute to reducing technical losses.”

The AFD official thanked the TCN management officials for their active participation and persistence, noting that TCN has been a strong partner of AFD in the last few years.

The inspection team also visited the 2x150MVA 132/33kV Lugbe West Main Transmission Substation to assess the level of project execution. There, the equipment for the substation was already on ground and the civil works were progressing.

TCN is also building another 132/33kV substation in Kuje which will have 2x60MVA power transformers along with the transmission line. According to the project brief, on completion, the Kuje Substation will boost bulk power supply to distribution load demand centres at the Kuje Area Council, where more public, commercial and residential buildings are fast rising.

For another fast-developing district in Abuja, the Lokogoma/Wumba, where developers estimated that over 1,000 homes have sprung up across sprawling estates, the TCN through its System Planning Department, factored power supply to the area into the Abuja Feeding Scheme.

Malam Bako, who said he requested and was granted access to some of the project sites, noted that with the  the 2x60MVA 132/33kV Wumba transmission substation being built in between the already existing 132/33kV Apo substation and the 132/33kV Kukwaba substation, residents of Lokogoma and Wumba would see the evidence of the massive power investments by the federal government, once that substation becomes operational.

Bako said: “With the completion of the Abuja Ring Fence Transmission Project, we believe the project implementation report, that the transmission capacity in the Abuja axis will always be ahead of load demand in Abuja for a very long time. The Abuja Feeding Scheme is a green-field project which refers to a brand-new project that is being executed from scratch, and is being wholly funded by the AFD. This is the kind of project that Nigerian electricity consumers are yearning for and we cannot see the impact of the project.

“We have been also reliably informed that the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution company (AEDC) was right there when the project was flagged off, that means they are also planning similar investments so that they can be able to evacuate the electricity from these new substations when they are ready beginning from this year end.”

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