TCN: Nigeria’s Distribution Network Below Universal Standard

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has disclosed that in line with standard operational practices in the global power market, Nigeria’s electricity network was still far below the marks.

It said while transmission networks are usually expected to be twice a country’s generation capacity, the distribution networks are in turn expected to be twice the capacity of the transmission, but at the moment, the distribution network has remained the lowest in terms of capacity in the value chain.

TCN’s interim Managing Director, Mr. Usman Mohammed, stated this in an interview with journalists at the 20th edition of the monthly power sector operators’ meeting in Owerri, Imo state. He said ideally, the distribution network should have the capacity to take up to 28,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

“There is what we call power business pyramid and what this talks about is that based on international standards, every power sector should have a transmission arm that has twice the capacity of generation companies, while distribution should have twice the capacity of transmission. But the way it is now in Nigeria, transmission is at the same level with generation, meaning we are not up to the required standard.

“And that is why we came up with the transmission rehabilitation and expansion programme, which we have requested for support from donors. Several multilateral donors have come in to support us, hopefully in the next three to four years we are going to put enough capacity that will be at least twice the capacity of generation,” said Mohammed.

He further explained: “The way it is now, when we have about 7,000MW transmission capacity, distribution is supposed to have twice of that figure. In fact, where we are now, transmission is supposed to have 14,000MW evacuation capacity and distribution is supposed to have 28,000MW distribution capacity.

“That is how it is supposed to be based on the internationally acceptable standard in the power business pyramid. So, as we try to ensure that we expand the transmission capacity, I think the government and the distribution companies are working very hard to see how they would catch up, because everybody is doing a catching up game now.”

He stated that the TCN was working to ensure that about 2400 megawatts of electricity from power plants in the eastern part of the country would be transmitted into the national grid through the Alaoji-Onitsha line.
“For us to do the Alaoji to Onitsha transmission line, what we are putting now is called cord line. Of all the 330kV transmission line we have been putting in Nigeria, this is the first time we are putting a cord line, which will have a capacity of 2,400MW. Now for us to do that line, we need to complete the conducting of New Heaven to Onitsha so that the generation that is from Afam and Alaoji can be evacuated through Ikot Ekpene to Ugwuaji, Enugu and then to Onitsha,” he said.

“If you look at between Afam and Alaoji, and if you look at Century Power that is coming up on the same route, you will discover that there are a lot of generation stations around this place. So, we need to evacuate the power coming from here, because every power you generate you need to have the line capacity to evacuate that power. And that is the reason why we are putting this kind of capacity around this place, particularly between Alaoji and Onitsha, as it is one of our greatest constraint in Nigeria so far,” added Mohammed.

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