Most Power Gencos Lie About Their Generation Capacity, TCN Claims

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The blame games between key operators in Nigeria’s power sector have continued unabated with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) stating Monday in Abuja that most power generation companies (Gencos) in the sector lie about the capacities of their plants so they can make financial claims on capacity charges.

Responding to a recent claim by the Gencos through their association – the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) — that the TCN through its management of the grid code stifle their efforts to load more power to the national grid, the TCN said the average power dispatch of the Gencos in April was about 78 per cent.

It explained through its General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, that the Gencos engage in fraudulent filing of their capacities to its National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo, and that in many cases, the national load demand was higher than the generation capacities of the Gencos.

“The average dispatch for the power plants for April is about 78 per cent of actual available generation capacity which is much higher than the figure of less than 50 being claimed by Ogaji (Executive Secretary of APGC).

“A large number of power plants submit fraudulent generation capacities and not able to deliver when asked to do so by NCC. This is done in order for them to get paid for capacities they do not actually have.

In many instances, the national demand during peak periods is far higher than actual available generation capacities of Gencos despite the fabulous capacities they declare,” said Mbah, in a note she sent to THISDAY.

She also explained why the TCN has not procured spinning reserves as stated by the APGC, saying: “TCN has not procured spinning reserves yet because most power plants have not satisfactorily placed their units on frequency response as required by grid code.”

According to Mbah, “As a transmission company, TCN can only dispatch what the distribution companies and eligible customers are willing to take. This is why load rejection by Discos especially during rainstorms is such a big problem that must be solved expeditiously.”

She stated that the TCN would not compromise the national grid to satisfy the Gencos, adding that the Gencos’ allegation that its NCC officials bark order at them was unfounded.

“NCC operates strictly in line with the grid code and merit order. Stability of the national grid is paramount. Unfortunately many Gencos due to greed, destabilise the grid through illegal practices in order to collect more money from NBET.

“They do so through false capacity declarations, unwillingness to put their generators on effective frequency response, delay in executing NCC dispatch instructions, intimidation and blackmail of NCC operatives.

The allegation of rudeness and ‘military method’ by NCC staff is wholly unfounded and baseless as NCC operators are trained in communication skills,” she said.

Insisting that the Gencos were often found guilty of attempts to destabilise the grid, Mbah said: “The practice by Genco operators insisting to get clearance from their managing directors while the national grid is at the brink of collapsing is highly irresponsible, unpatriotic and a gross violation of the grid code.”

Mbah equally disclosed that the TCN has completed and energised three new transformers in Jos, Plateau State and Abeokuta, Ogun State, in line with its Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Program (TREP) which it said was anchored on the government’s policy on incremental power.

She also stated that the Dan Agundi 60MVA by 132/33kV power transformer in Kano State, which got burnt in December 2017 had been repaired and energised.