Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Electricity generation companies (Gencos) have said the current transmission infrastructure of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was a threat to the safety of their operations and equipment.
The Gencos have in their expression of distrust with TCN’s operational capacity also restated similar feelings on TCN as shared by the electricity distribution companies (Discos). They had earlier in 2014 warned that TCN’s operational capacity was suspicious.
According to them, TCN’s operations have contributed to the damage of generating equipment valued at billions of naira.
They said they would want the federal government to significantly invest in the transmission network and upgrade its capacity to an equal level with other value chains of the power sector, adding that its continued underperformance was impeding the sector’s growth.
A statement from the Gencos noted that it was important for all stakeholders including the government to note these and quickly find solutions to the development.
The Gencos also stated that other challenges such as accumulated debts for energy generated and supplied; government’s economic policies; opposition to retail cost reflective tariff for the sector; as well as shortage of gas supply were impacting on their operations.
They noted that up to 4,991 megawatts (MW) of electricity was currently stranded by either shortage of gas supply; transmission constraints or other ancillary issues.
“The Gencos use this opportunity to send an SOS in respect of transmission infrastructure particularly as it relates to the safety of our operations and equipment. There is a need to significantly invest in the transmission sector in order to ensure an equal level growth across the industry.
“As it stands now, the generating sector has already witnessed a mishap due to inadequate transmission infrastructure which has cost damage to generating equipment valued at billions of naira,” the statement said.
It stated that despite the commitment of the Gencos to the country’s power sector as shown by their substantial capital investments towards capacity enhancement and continued operations under alleged suffocating operating environment, they have continued to be stretched as if the intention was to know how far they could go before shutting down operations.
On this, the Gencos said: “The response is very simple: shut down is imminent. The situation can only be saved if solutions are immediately implemented to address the issues.”
“While the Gencos remain committed to the Nigerian project, this commitment can only be meaningful when the critical factors necessary for the continued existence and thriving of the Gencos and the power sector are addressed and fixed. It is extremely urgent that this is done now,” the statement added.