Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Power generation companies (Gencos) in Nigeria’s electricity market have frowned on what they described as an unhealthy frequency control practice of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Alleging that the TCN was having challenges controlling the frequency levels of electricity in the grid, the Gencos stated that their generation plants were being impacted negatively by TCN’s reported challenges with controlling electricity frequency in the country.
Therefore, they warned that the development could lead to complete shutdown of their units and perhaps a national blackout.
The Executive Secretary of the Gencos’ association – the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, explained this to THISDAY in Abuja, in telephone chat.
Ogaji’s claims however came at a time the TCN announced its energisation of a 330 kilovolt (kV) transmission substation and 150 megavolt amp (MVA) power transformer in Damaturu area of Yobe State.
According to Ogaji: “TCN has serious difficulties controlling frequency with another impending blackout. Evidence shows as follows: system performance for 07/09/2018: Highest Frequency 50.98 Hz. Lowest Frequency 49.64 Hz. Peak Generation 4,498.10MW. Lowest Generation 2,627.60MW. Total Energy Sent Out 81,770.75MWH
“System performance for 09/09/2018: Highest Frequency 50.98 Hz. Lowest Frequency 50.12 Hz. And, 11, September 2018: Frequency from 48.85 to 50.9 HZ.”
She explained further that: “Generating units cannot withstand this very high frequency for a long time. Even for a very short time generating units will get into a vibration zone.
“This will diminish their life expectancy and will require extended maintenance in the medium term.
“There is need to declare a state of emergency on these issues, politics is not helping. These assets though in private hands, if allowed to go down like this, will be colossal waste for all of us considering the huge sum invested in them.”
However, in a statement signed by TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, the company said it successfully energised the 330kV transmission substation which was constructed six years ago but could not be energised.
It also said the 150MVA power transformer and associated 75MVR reactors were energised by it, adding that its task team would now concentrate on completing a 60MVA transformer within the next two weeks to enable Damaturu and its environs get supply from the substation.
Mbah, explained in the statement that contract for the Damaturu 330kV substation project was awarded in 2006, but like its Wudil 132kV substation which was taken over from the contractor and completed about a month ago, its engineers took over the contract about three months back and completed it afterwards.
She noted that the Gombe-Damaturu 330kV single circuit transmission line was completed in 2013 but was neither terminated nor energised until its task team did it.
Further, Mbah, stated that two towers on the Damaturu-Maiduguri 330kV transmission lines that were vandalised in 2015 were being stringed by TCN’s contractor, and expected to be completed in the next one week.
According to her, this will significantly improve the power supply of Maiduguri and environs, as well as the flexibility of supply to Biu and Dambua, all in Borno State.