..as stakeholders clamour for inauguration of TCN board
The Federal Government on Wednesday steps up efforts to arrest the deteriorating power supply situation in the country as it approved about N6.2 billion for the award of contracts for six projects in the power sector.
Mamman Saleh, Minister of Power, disclosed this at the State House on Wednesday in Abuja, after the Federal Executive Council meeting.
He stated that the need for government to boost power supply was the major focus of the meeting, stating further that the council approved all six memos presented for consideration by him.
The approvals included the award of a contract for the design, manufacture, and supply of critical spare parts for Crompton Greaves 330KV, 132KV, and 33KV circuit breakers at N298,339,887.04; and procurement of 50 sets of 400AH battery banks – 30 to 50 volts, and 30 number of 110 volts battery charges for the substation used by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at N644,805,953.10.
Others were award of contract for the design, manufacture, and supply of three 60/66 MVA 132KV power transformers with accessories, and 15 number of 500 kV transformers, 33/0.415KV earthing transformers for the TCN at N1,296,953,044.55 with a delivery period of 12 months.
He said:“All that the government is doing is to make sure that first and foremost, the supply is stable.”
He added, “The government also wants to make sure that we upgrade the supply, maybe from 4,000 megawatts to 5,000, to 6,000, to 7,000 megawatts. So, the more we replace some obsolete and outdated equipment, the more we improve the supply of electricity.”
The power minister explained that the procurements were geared towards upgrading the transmission system to the national grid for greater efficiency and to ensure sufficient power supply to the nation in no distant time.
On the promised distribution of 1,000,000 meters, he noted that the first phase of the exercise was close to completion.
Saleh stressed that Nigerians who receive less than 24 hours power supply would be charged a lesser tariff than others.
These projects are being approved by the government without board of directors to the Transmission Company of Nigeria TCN which the project is meant for.
Meanwhile experts have urged the Federal Government to inaugurate the board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN with immediate effect, arguing that lack of it affects operations.
The board of TCN, a major component of the electricity industry value chain was constituted in January this year, but it has not yet been inaugurated.
The letters of appointment of the newly constituted board members, which has Muhammad K Ahmad as the Chairman, were signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The Minister of Power, has said he is not opposed to the board’s inauguration, but said some things must be sorted out
The experts have said the prolonged delay in inaugurating its board has impacted negatively on the activities of the organization, and by extension the nation’s electricity sector.
“TCN occupies an important place in the sector, especially as it performs not only transmission but also operations. In carrying out such responsibilities, the role of a functional board cannot be ignored.”
“But because of lack of board, the Minister of Power, a political appointee, has for a long time wielded undue influence on the activities of TCN. This is not proper as the board should be made up of seasoned technocrats with adequate capacity to impact on the operations of TCN and the sector.”
He added: “Therefore, there is an urgent need for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to inaugurate the important board without further delay.”
Similarly, President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, said: “If the board of TCN is inaugurated, it will results in having in place a Substantive Chairman and New Board Members, who in turn will select a new/substantive MD/CEO of TCN and with attendant positive results.
“TCN is a bridge between generation and distribution, meaning that without transmission there would no power for consumers in different parts of the nation. I happen to know much about TCN, especially as a member of the National Technical Investigative Panel on Power System Collapses/Systems Stability & Reliability in June 2013. We have obsolete grid and poor maintenance of facilities, which affect the delivery of adequate and stable power to consumers. Although power generation is relatively high, a bulk of the power cannot be transmitted and distributed to consumers.”