By Ejiofor Alike
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has so far recorded 15 system collapses in 2017, indicating strong evidence of the weakness of the transmission infrastructure to wheel power from the generation companies to the distribution companies, THISDAY has learnt.
According to the second quarter 2017 performance scorecard by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which was obtained by THISDAY, TCN recorded five system collapses in the first quarter of 2017 and 10 system collapses in the second quarter of 2017.
The scorecard showed that the five system collapses recorded in the first quarter were total collapse of the transmission grid.
However, eight out of the 10 system collapses in the second quarter were total collapses while two were partial collapses of the system, according to NERC.
THISDAY gathered that the weakness of the transmission infrastructure has continued to manifest in the frequent collapse of the system whenever generation improves significantly.
However, in few instances, the system has collapsed as a result of very low generation.
Though the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola had claimed that TCN has a capacity to wheel over 6,500 megawatts, statistics showed that the system goes down once generation exceeds 4,500MW.
Fashola recently berated the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey for telling the eight-member Congressional delegation from the United States that weak transmission infrastructure had stalled the evacuation of 700 megawatts of electricity from the power station.
The ministerâ€™s annoyance stemmed from the fact that TCN is under the control and ownership of the federal government, unlike the distribution and generation companies.
Peavey had told the Congressional delegation led by Senator Christopher Coons, who is a member of the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees, that the plant was being owed N125 billion for power supplied to the national grid, a revelation, which also irked the power minister.
But in his remarks at 19th Monthly Meeting of the Power Sector OperatorsÂ hosted by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) at the Akangba 330/132/33KV Transmission Station in Lagos yesterday, Fashola insisted that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) currently has the capacity to transmit 6,500 megawatts, adding that gone were the days when only Americans would know if there was a problem in Nigeria.
Â The minister added that before the US Congressmen visited Egbin Power Station, Peavey had raised the alarm that the huge debts owed the generation companies would plunge the country into darkness.
â€œIn my response, at the time, I believe I mentioned what government was doing about verifying MDA (ministry, departments and agencies) debts and how to deal with legacy debts, which we inherited. I also admonished all operators in the sector, to act in a manner consistent with their leadership role and the public expectation of all of us, to find solutions to problems, project hope, and not fear,â€ Fashola reportedly said.
The minister noted that despite his admonition, the Egbin CEO told the visiting Congressmen the power plant was owed N125 billion and could not evacuate 700MW as a result of transmission constraints.