Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Govt Raises 11-man Panel to Probe Frequent System Collapse

 The federal government has asked 13 past and current seasoned administrators in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to within two weeks investigate and report to it, underlying reasons for frequent trips in the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution networks.

This is just as the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Monday launched an advanced measure aimed at prompt rectification of disruptions in power supply on its transmission networks and substations nationwide.

The 13-man technical investigative panel on system collapse, which was inaugurated in Abuja Monday by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, is to review all system collapses that have occurred from January 2013 and identify possible human-related lapses.

The panel, which is chaired by a former director in the Ministry of Power, Fatai Olapade, has as members Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi; Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP), Beks Dagogo-Jack; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TCN, Don Priestman; and Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), James Olotu.

Other members include Director of Power in the ministry, Sanusi Garba; CEO of Egbin Power plant, Mike Uzoigwe; CEO of Ikeja Distribution Company, Chris Akamnonu; and the Vice-President, International Commission for Large Dams, Omo Ekpo.

Nebo, at the inauguration of the panel, said the federal government raised it because it was worried by the frequency of disruptions in the electricity network and would anticipate a thorough and transparent report on the development from the panel.

He explained that the magnitude of the challenge informed the composition of the panel, adding that: “This panel is not going to be like most others, but must work round the clock and provide answers and solutions within two weeks. No excuse will be tolerated, please.”

The minister said the panel would review all the system collapses that had happened, as well as the performance and effectiveness of the grid’s protection system and recommend measures to further strengthen the protection mechanism.

Meanwhile, the TCN in relation to these disruptions has taken delivery of an aerial survey and geodetic imagery mapping technology worth $3 million to monitor encroachments on its transmission lines and right of way corridors across Nigeria.

Principal Officer of Penuel Consulting LLC, which was contracted to undertake the project for the transmission company, Timmy Fadiora, stated at the inauguration of the project that technology would strengthen TCN’s monitoring mechanism on its transmission lines to rectify quickly disruptions in power supply.

“The essence of the project is for TCN to be able to conduct aerial mapping of its entire transmission lines and substations in Nigeria, and actually get the geo-reference and exact location of each of those lines and substations to help it identify areas where you have energy losses on the line because when you generate 4,500MW that you transmit and distribute to consumers and there are losses, if you know the exact points, you will be able to minimise these losses.

“The technology will stop encroachment on the right of way corridor of TCN either by vegetation or human activities; it will identify these encroachments for safety and reliability purposes with generated data, and will know the particular encroached areas and power cuts,” Fadiora said.

He also noted that TCN’s planning for new lines and future substations, asset management in terms of prompt replacement of conductors to avert power cut, as well as quick turnaround in system management were some of the other benefits of the technology to TCN.

Also, NERC has said its issuance of licences to seven power generation companies under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) would allow the companies currently managed by NDPHC to operate as legal entities in the power sector.

Amadi stated at the presentation of the licences to NDPHC that the companies: Benin, Omotosho, Omoku, Gbarain, Calabar, Geregu and Egbema generation companies had been constructed and operated without licences as required by the Electric Power Sector Reform Acts (EPSR) 2005 but now has to regularise their operations, hence, the licence issuance.

“Because the NDPHC did not apply for licence before they constructed, it was constructed illegally if you like, because it’s government-owned. We were not there then, so, by the time we came on board, we wrote to them that they must regularise themselves and get licence. So, they applied and we reviewed the application and approved their licence according to the law.

“What happens is that up till now, they were not licensees. Three have been given licences before and those three sent to us periodic key performance indicators. If you are a licensee, you will report to us on health and safety and other operations.

“What has changed is that, primarily, they may be doing the same thing, the process of generating power is not going to change but the obligations and our ability to monitor, evaluate and apply sanction has changed. Now, you are a licensee, the terms are clear, we now have interest in what you are doing,” Amadi said.

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