The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, at the weekend disclosed that it was able to secure a sum of $406 million from the World Bank for execution of transmission expansion projects across the country.
The project which it described as “brownfield” will focus on rehabilitation and expansion of existing projects.
TCN’s interim Managing Director, Alhaji Usman Gur Mohammed, who disclosed at a dinner in Abuja, stated that the project is the biggest project the company has ever attracted.
He explained that the expansion which would be sited on existing projects will strengthen the capacities of existing lines.
He said, “The first project is signed by the World Bank and this is the biggest project Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and TCN has ever attracted in the history of Nigeria. We have never attracted more than $200 million. Now this $406million project is targeting brownfield projects.
“They are projects that are sited on existing projects meaning that you don’t need to do fresh evaluation impact assessment on the project. Meaning that it is the existing substation we are going to strengthen.
“Under this project, we are expanding the capacity of Geregu Power Plant in Niger state, we are expanding the capacity of Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Kumbotso, Gombe and that is how we are doing all over the country.”
Mohammed also disclosed that the project would see to the installation of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).
SCADA is a common industrial process automation system that collects data from instruments and sensors located at remote sites and to transmit data at a central site for either monitoring or controlling purpose.
A quality SCADA is central to the effective operation of distribution, transmission and generation assets.
Mohammed affirmed that the first two attempts at installing a quality SCADA had failed as a result of deficiencies in the control rooms.
To this end, he said, the project would address the deficiencies so as to enable the new SCADA function effectively.
“Also under this project, we are going to install a functional SCADA. The SCADA that we have is currently 40 percent of TCN when we did the SCADA in the past we didn’t take into consideration the massive expansion from NIPP. So when the SCADA was completed it only took only 20 percent of the TCN capacity installed and not only that when we did the SCADA, we did not take into account what we call removing deficiencies in the control room.
“So we set up a committee to tell us the reason why the two attempt at SCADA we did not succeed so the committee came up with recommendations that we need to remove deficiencies in the control room, part of what we are doing is that anywhere we are putting substation.
“We are also putting solutions that will make SCADA work well because without functional SCADA we cannot do the job very effectively. So any substation we are touching, we are also rehabilitating the control room, we are digitalising the control room,” he said.
Similarly, he noted that the African Development Bank (AFDB) has awarded a sum of $170million for five new transmission projects in the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
According to him, this involves the construction of five new substations in Lugbe, Lokogoma, Gwarinpa, and Apo, adding that the procurement process was at 60 percent.
In his explanations, he said; “We also have Abuja transmission project, this is supported by AFDB. It is about $170million we are done with procurement process of that project up to 60 percent. The project is putting five transmission substations in Abuja.
Currently, Abuja has two 330KV substations so we are putting additional two and five 150KV substations so we are putting additional three and the three are in Gwarinpa, Lokogoma, and Kuje.
“The 330Kv substations will be in Lugbe and at Apo and these projects will bring a new supply to Abuja. So Abuja is getting supply through Shiroro and through Ajaokuta and now we are getting another supply from Lafia.”
The MD had earlier decried the delay often witnessed in the implementation of transmission projects despite supports from multilateral donors.
He expressed the donors’ initial unwillingness to support projects as they argued that the company’s strategies for the implementation of projects were poor.
However, he blamed these on over-centralization of projects especially in the FCT and engagement of unqualified contractors.
“When we spoke to the donors they said transmission has not had a good listing for implementing the project. What this means is that we have not been implementing projects well in the past. When we reflected on that, we discovered that it is true. So we tried to find out and what we found out is that TCN has over centralised project implementation.
“The second thing is that TCN has not been putting their best in implementing project meaning those who have the best capabilities have not been put there to implement projects and that is why we came up with the name selection process.”
Consequently, he said efforts made to address the challenges was what led to the $406million support from World Bank, $170 million from AFDB and several other donors.