By Andy Chukwu
Power distribution companies (DisCos) have stated that the country’s electricity grid has suffered nine system collapses this year and over 100 of such cases since the sector was privatised.
The companies said the system collapse has continued to occur despite the $1.6bn local and international intervention fund to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, the manager of Nigeria’s power grid.
Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANEDs), the umbrella body for the power distribution companies, which represents 10 Discos, except Yola Disco, alleged that the TCN, with its analogue system has caused inefficiency and 5,311 interface disruptions in one Disco in the first 18 days of this month.
Responding to a recent TCN’s report that the DisCos misrepresented crucial power evacuation and distribution data, Oduntan insisted that the DisCos had not rejected energy load as the TCN claimed in its publication.
He argued that the 10 DisCos had invested about $1.4bn in their networks and stated that the TCN’s statistics were in conflict with figures presented to the DisCos by the National Control Centre, which is under the TCN coordinating power allocation to the DisCos.
Oduntan said while the TCN headquarters’ data published on September 20, 2019 stated that 19,173 megawatts of energy was delivered to the DisCos between August 22 and August 24, 2019, the NCC data actually showed that it was 13,963MW.
This, according to ANED, indicated a conflicting difference of 5,208MW within the same company.
“It raises questions as to the veracity and accuracy of the TCN’s response in terms of the energy that it delivered to the DisCos,” Oduntan said.
“How could the TCN’s supposed sent-out or delivered energy exceed that recorded by its control centre, the singular source for such information.”
The DisCos further stated that except for February 1, 2016 when the TCN wheeled 4,557MW, the transmission firm had never wheeled sufficient energy to meet the Discos energy off-take assumptions specified under the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015.
They said the $1.6bn Federal Government-guaranteed multilateral funds and grants that the TCN had got was unavailable to the privitised generation companies and the DisCos.
They stated that despite the TCN claims by the TCN that it was implementing its Transmission Rehabilitation Expansion Programme with the $1.6bn fund, the reality on the ground was otherwise.
“The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry continues to deal with largely a TCN that finds it difficult to move away from a PHCN-legacy of uncleared equipment containers, analogue-based and informal communication systems and frequent explosions and burnings of transmission sub-stations and transformers,” Oduntan stated.
He said such substation fire recently put Agbor and Asaba towns of Delta State, and Oye, Ekiti State in blackout.
“Over 100 partial and total system collapses have been recorded since privatisation and nine total system collapses so far this year.
“Also, there have been multiple transmission interface deficiencies with 5,311 TCN interface interruptions in one DisCo franchise area from September 1 to 18, 2019,” he said.
He stated that the TCN’s repeated calls for the DisCos to recapitalise was a distraction from the fact that such recapitalisation would not occur in an environment that lacked respect for sanctity of contracts.
Oduntan said recapitalisation would happen under regulatory and policy certainty and consistency, ability of the sector operators to recover their costs of doing business and an alignment of technical and commercial considerations.