W’Bank, Others Raise $1.57bn for Grid Expansion

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•TCN budgets $65m to procure new SCADA for national grid

•Clears 655 out of 800 stranded power project containers at ports

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and French Development Agency are among some of the multilateral donor agencies that have raised $1.57 billion for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to expand Nigeria’s electricity grid to 20,000 megawatts (MW) within the next four years, THISDAY learnt Tuesday in Abuja.

The funds according to the Managing Director of the TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, were raised for the company to implement its Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP).

Mohammed said the TREP was initiated and approved by the federal government for the TCN to steadily grow, stabilise and modernise Nigeria’s transmission network so it can take more electricity from generation companies (Gencos) to distribution networks.

He disclosed this when the TCN hosted a workshop with stakeholders in the electricity industry to review its plan to procure and install brand new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and electricity management system (EMS) for the national grid.

“We established the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) that seeks to expand and stabilise the grid, and provide necessary flexibility and redundancies consistent with N-1 reliability criteria.

“The objective of the TREP also is to expand the grid to about 20,000 megawatts in the next three to four years, this being done through the implementation of the TREP.

“I wish to tell you that the TREP has so far been able to raise $1.57 billion from multilateral and bilateral donors. And, this is coming from the World Bank, AfDB, JICA, and French Development Agency,” said Mohammed.

He further stated: “Discussion is ongoing also to raise more funds in the course of the implementation of this programme.”

According to him, the TCN was able to attract such funds from these multilateral donor agencies because it was able to clean its management processes and now abide by standard corporate governance processes.

He said such corporate governance processes imbibed included the update of TCN’s annual financial audit reports which he said was in arrears from 2010 to 2016 but now cleared, except for that of 2017 which is ongoing; the trimming down of its bloated management cadre from 46 general managers to 16 and less than 50 assistant general managers; as well as the restructuring of its procurement systems to accommodate only competent firms in its contract windows.

“In the last one year, we have been able to deliver a 20-year least-cost transmission plan, present to NERC a generation adequacy report which is part of the requirement of the function of system operation, and we have been able to also audit TCN from 2010 to 2016 and now working to deliver the 2017 audit,” he added.

Mohammed equally disclosed that TCN has set aside a $65 million budget to procure the brand new SCADA and EMS for the country’s grid. He explained the facility would help the TCN manage the grid efficiently.

“The SCADA is a digital system to control the grid. Most of the time we use manual processes to control the grid, and if somebody does anything in the grid that is supposed to be seen, sometimes it cannot be seen because there is no SCADA, so the SCADA is like a mirror that sees everybody on the grid and anybody that does anything that affects the grid will be seen and punished according to the grid code.

“Its main purpose is to ensure that we have a grid that is functioning properly, and become stable and modern,” he stated.

According to him, “The budget now is about $65 million, but when we do the tender, we don’t know how much it would be. The previous one that we did was about $40 million but this money is provided under the NETAP (Nigeria Electricity Transmission Access Project) which is financed by the World Bank.”

He said some of the reasons why previous attempts to install a SCADA in the grid failed were that, “the scoping was not done properly because it did not anticipate expansion and so when the NIPP projects came in, they were not part of the SCADA, all the NIPP projects were not captured and several other projects that came in.”

Mohammed also provided an update on TCN’s recovery of containers of its projects’ equipment stranded at ports across the country for many years now. He said so far 655 of the 800 containers have been retrieved and dispatched to their destination project sites.

He noted that 145 of these containers were yet to be cleared, while 75 were undergoing clearance processes and another 70 auctioned and with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).