Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Despite recent setbacks, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the West African Power Pool (WAPP) yesterday expressed its determination to go ahead with its plan to have a regional electricity market to connect Nigeria to Niger Republic and other West African countries.
Giving the activity report of WAPP for the period from January to December 2020, the sub-regional organisation, chaired by the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Sule Abdulaziz, said soon member countries would have interconnected power systems.
Secretary-General of the body, Mr. Apolonaire Seingui, said despite the negative impact of the pandemic, WAPP had continued to make giant strides towards the implementation of a competitive regional electricity market.
A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, noted that Seingui spoke at the 15th session of the General Assembly for 2020, holding in Lome, Republic of Togo, where he informed the board that the membership of the organisation had increased to 36 member utilities, including one observer.
Speaking on the status of implementation of the various projects handled by the WAPP secretariat, which are at various stages of execution, Seingui lauded the members for the steadfastness, urging them to continue to support the ongoing projects.
Some of the projects include the 330kV WAPP North Core Interconnection Project linking Nigeria to Niger, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso as well as the 330kV Median Core Interconnection Project to connect Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, among others.
WAPP noted that the establishment of regional electricity market remains the ultimate goal set for the body by the ECOWAS heads of state and government and the Information and Coordination Centre (ICC).
The organisation stated that its next set of activities would include the implementation of the synchronisation project of WAPP interconnected power systems and the improvement of distribution utilities, performance targeting and distribution loss reduction.
The WAPP executive board consists of 15 members, with 11 permanent members, three rotating members and one honorary member.
Delivering his welcome address, Abdulaziz noted that the power sector, as the engine of every economy, has been significantly impacted by the current global pandemic.
He said this has led to, in most cases, a reduction in electricity demand, financial stress and other disruptions.
According to him, the pandemic has introduced several challenges for every country and institutions globally as increasing unemployment and poverty has prevented many from paying their electricity bills.
“Payment delays and sometimes delinquency of utility bills by end consumers is having a detrimental effect on the electricity supply chain.
“With the pandemic’s effect on the supply and demand side of the value chain and the already existing liquidity crisis, strategic options must be deployed to assist utilities bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 negative consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has said that power supply to Kontagora, Tegina, Kagara and surrounding towns and villages will be interrupted from December 10 to December 14 as a result of the need to maintain the Kontagora 132/33kV transmission line serving the affected areas.
A statement by the company’s spokesman, Mr. Fadipe Oyebode, said during the blackout, the Kainji line maintenance crew of the TCN, which handles the exercise, will fabricate and replace the cross arms on tower 244 and 246.
“Our colleagues at the TCN have assured us of their readiness to complete the exercise within the stipulated time and restore supply immediately,” the AEDC said.