The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) yesterday disclosed that about $655 million of the expected financial stimulus negotiated for it by the federal government for the expansion and upgrade of Nigeria’s transmission network had been escrowed in an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It stated that the said sum, which includes $150 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB), $170 million from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), $135.550 million from the Eurobond and $200 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would be deployed for the immediate completion of the 165 ongoing transmission projects in the country.
The 165 projects, it added, were meant to improve its electricity wheeling capacity from a modest 5,000 megawatts (MW) to 10,000MW, of which it was confident of 7,000MW on a balanced delivery as of now.
TCN in this regard, also called on Nigerians to take advantage of the yet to be enacted local content law in the Nigerian Power Supply Industry (NPSI), which had been initiated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and participate in the enormous projects execution opportunities within the transmission network.
Although an update on the projects finance mix was provided by the Director, Finance and Account of TCN, Mr. Sonny Iroche, the Chairman of the board of TCN, Mr. Ibrahim Waziri, however, told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja that it had mandated the management under Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) to review and prioritise the raft of ongoing projects in the network to ensure prudent deployment of limited resources to key projects with immediate and tangible impacts.
Waziri also disclosed the board’s satisfaction with the current operational status at TCN under Manitoba, adding that it had reviewed the deliverable milestones for Manitoba to meet.
He, however, explained that the board targets to achieve three broad objectives of zero stranded power and system collapse as well as transparent and efficient market operations.
“As at today, the performance of TCN is commendable and on a positive up-swing. We have over 165 ongoing initiatives and projects aimed at doubling our power wheeling capacity from a modest 5,000 megawatts to 10,000 megawatts, of which we are confident of 7,000 megawatts on a balanced delivery as of now,” Waziri said.
He further noted: “The board has asked management to review and prioritise the raft of ongoing projects to ensure a more prudent focus of limited resources to key projects with immediate tangible impact.”
The chairman equally listed some of the operational challenges of TCN to include funding constraints to which he noted that a framework for private investments is being worked out, vandalism and theft of transmission equipment, legacy debts as well as low cash collections from the electricity value chain.
He said: “It is very clear to us that for the sector to attain the vibrancy required to fully meet and exceed the expectation of our rapidly growing economy and Nigerians, we need and indeed welcome investors who have a long term view of their returns.
“We are open to sharing our strategic national grid growth and stabilisation plans with investors wishing to key in. Frameworks for such partnership are being finalised to obtain legal backing and safeguards.”
On the taskforce set up to address its transmission challenges in northern states of the country, the company explained that it was all part of its mandate to ensure efficient transmission of electricity across the country.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, has said the nationwide power generation was expected to peak at 9,000 megawatts (MW) by December 2014.
Igali explained that the expected increase in power generation would come with the inauguration of more capacities from the 10 power stations under the National Integrated Power projects (NIPPs).
He said during a presentation to the peer review team of the body of permanent secretaries in the civil service of the federation in Abuja that:” Without electricity, our national thrust of being one of the largest economies in 2020 will not be possible.
“By the year ending, peak generation should be up to 9000MW as the NIPPs will add 4700MW to the already available 4500MW,” he added.
Recent reports from the National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo Osun State, indicated that peak electricity generation in the national grid as at last Saturday stood at 4,021MW.