Tidying Up Nigeria’s Power Transmission System

Emmanuel Addeh writes that transmission, which is one of the tripod on which Nigeria’s electricity supply system rests, could be up for good news soon with the federal government’s renewed focus on ramping up infrastructure in the wholly government-owned outfit.

There have been several complaints as to how weak the country’s power supply system has become, from generation to transmission and then to distribution.

But it would appear that there are ongoing efforts to boost the wheeling power of the sector with the ongoing projects around the country, which are capable of increasing supply markedly in the first instance.

This is against the backdrop that the federal government has harped on raising national electricity supply to about 5,000 mw, with the recent binding contracts among the industry operators.

Already, as part of the new lease of life,  the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has pushed forward with the construction several lines, including new 330 and 132 kilovolts (kV) transmission lines and the upgrade of existing ones spanning over 3,306 kilometres.

An analysis of various transmission project reports shows that the transmission lines upgrade and constructions cut across the six geopolitical zones.

While the South-west has 518km power transmission lines projects that have either been delivered or are ongoing, the South-east has 573km length of projects while the South-south has 476km span of power transmission projects.

In the same vein, the North-west has 1,204km of delivered and planned projects just as the North-central has 250km length of project and the North-east has a 285km planned project.

To be sure, the TCN operates one of its two licences obtained from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as the Transmission Service Provider (TSP) for the Nigerian power sector.

This mandates it to provide the transmission infrastructure to evacuate bulk power from the Generation Companies (Gencos) to all the Distribution Companies (Discos) load centres nationwide.

With the transmission lines traversing over 20,000 kilometres in the country and extending to Niger Republic and the Republic of Benin, the TCN  is mandated to build either 330/132kV transmission substations or 132/33kV substations at various locations where the 330kV and 132kV lines drop in.

The bulk electricity from such facility is thereafter supplied a Disco’s interface to get to the final consumers in that location. In all, there are over 800 of such power transmission substations with the Discos’ interfaces in Nigeria.

Secondly, TCN operates another licence from NERC for the Independent System Operations (ISO) which mandates the sole transmission utility firm in Nigeria to operate and manage the national electricity grid.

A Rash Of Infrastructure

With the renewed focus to clean up the transmission part of the tripod, several projects are now ongoing. Among them are the 518km transmission projects in the South-west, including the “reconductored” Ikeja West – Alimosho – Ogba – Alausa 132kV transmission line on an estimated 20km distance within the heavily populated Lagos capital.

 The project, after completion, raised the bulk power delivery to Discos within Lagos and Ogun state to 240MW from the previous 120MW, representing a 100 per cent increase in transmission efficiency.

Similarly, the Ikorodu (Lagos) to Shagamu (Ogun) 132kV transmission line has been constructed, raising the conductor strength from 150mm2 single circuit to 250mm2 double circuit line, leaving the 35km line better strengthened for maximum power output for the industrial areas around the environs.

Furthermore, in January 2022, the government company reconstructed five burnt transmission towers and restrung the 330kV Ikeja West to Akangba transmission line spanning 17km; the line was affected by fire from a vandalised pipeline.

 The Senior Manager, System Lines at the Akangba sub-region of the TCN Lagos region, Emmanuel Kuye, said the transmission line was back to service in less than one month after the incident.

 The company also constructed a new transmission tower in Ajah and strung an old 330kV line and a new 330kV line on the 76km Egbin to Ajah transmission line route in Lagos this year.

Under the Ogun-Lagos Transmission Project being funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), TCN says it has progressed on the procurement process of building six substations and their associated 330kV and 132kV transmission lines to further service the Lagos-Ogun industrial hub.

 The company adds that it has already completed the payment of compensation for the substations’ land and the right of way for the 90km stretch of transmission lines.

Still in the South-west, the Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider at TCN, Victor Adewumi, during an inspection visit said a 330kV transmission line from Osogbo in Osun state to the new 330/132/33KV Akure substation in Ondo state will be ready in the next five months.

“The 107km transmission line will bring 96MW of electricity from the substation to increase power supply in Ondo and Ekiti state. Also, another 330kV transmission line covering 173km distance is being constructed from Akure to Ihovbor (Benin) in Edo state,” he stated.

A further breakdown for the South-east with 573km projects shows that the contract has been awarded and contractors mobilised for the upgrade of the Onitsha (Anambra) to New Haven (Enugu) 330kV transmission line.

The 110km transmission line upgrade would increase capacity of the line from 680MW to 1,320MW, with more bulk electricity for growing demands of the southeast.

In July 2021, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the TCN contract for the construction of the Umuahia to Ohafia 132kV single circuit transmission line. The contract, which is in progress will boost bulk power delivery in Abia state within a 59km distance.

It also carried out enhanced works on the 330kV Ugwuaji to Makurdi transmission line and the 132/33kV Ugwuaji transmission substation in Enugu state this year.


With some funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), TCN is expected to deliver other projects by the reconstruction of two units of 330kV double circuit quad transmission lines from Alaoji to Onitsha spanning 138km.

In the South South (476km projects), TCN also received FEC approval to construct a double circuit 132kV transmission line bay from Calabar to Ikom at a 220km distance, the latest TCN transmission line projects’ progress report stated.

As of last year, progress has been made with multiple transmission works in Akwa Ibom state as it recently reconstructed a vandalised tower at the Oku Iboku area.

They include a new double circuit 132kV transmission line from ALSCON to Ibom Power 20km distance; construction of the Oron substation and its 132kV line from Eket to Oron (41km) while reconductoring the Aba (Abia) to Itu (Akwa Ibom) 132kV transmission line (70km). The TCN AfDB project will deliver the 125km long Delta to Benin 330kV transmission line.

In the North Central with 250km length of projects, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is funding a 330kV transmission line and substation project for Nigeria.

The line is being constructed from Lafia in Nasarawa State to New Apo in Abuja spanning 200km distance and will also connect the 132/33kV Old Apo substation, and new substations at Lugbe, Kuje, Pigba (Lokogoma) and Gwarimpa, all in Abuja.

It was learnt that at least about 600mw bulk power delivery will be added to the national grid when this is ready between this year’s end and early 2023, the report noted.

In November 2021,  the Katampe to Central Area 132kV underground transmission line in Abuja which is one of the few of such facilities in Nigeria was energised.  The underground power lines of 10km supply bulk electricity to TCN’s Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) in the Central Area of Abuja.  

Also, procurement works for a 40km distance of a 330kV double circuit transmission line from the Lokoja substation to the proposed 330/132/33kV Obajana substation in Kogi state has begun.

In the North West with 1,204km of delivered and planned projects, the report showed that the company recently completed the reconductoring of the Kebbi – Sokoto 132kV transmission line which is over 150km with 415 towers on the line route.

 The line can now evacuate 150 megawatts (MW) of electricity, nearly 120 per cent increase from the 70mw that the line carried in the past.

The company said it is working on expanding the capacity of the 330kV Kaduna to Kano transmission line.

“This 240km transmission line will further boost industrialisation in the zone. It will also be readily available for the evacuation of power in Kano when the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) power plant comes on stream. This is after the completion of the ongoing Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project expected to be ready next year,” it stated.


 Managing Director of TCN, Sule Abdulaziz, who recently inspected the 330kV Rimin Zakara (Kano)to Katsina double circuit transmission line and the Katsina and Kano substations, assured that the projects will be completed swiftly.

 The 176km transmission line, he said, is a core asset when completed for Katsina as it will boost power evacuation in a state which is presently served by just a 132kV transmission line.

“We have discussed with the Kano government, they have assisted us and we have resolved the issue of right of way. So, the contractor is now free to come and take these and start construction.

“We want to make sure that within one year remaining for this administration, we will be able to complete that transmission line so that Mr President will come and commission it,” he said.

However, according to the TCN Transmission Master Plan, there is also a long-term plan in the future to extend the line from Katsina to Zamfara, and to Sokoto which are all being served by a single circuit 132kV line on a 360km stretch.

The project report also said the TCN management had completed the construction of the New Kaduna to Jos 330kV double circuit transmission line at a 278km distance. The line route also has eight multi-circuit towers at the intersection point in Kaduna for an existing single circuit 330kV line.

“With the completion of the lines and connection to the grid, the total capacity of bulk power transmission in the axis has increased from 500MW to 1,500MW while Kaduna now has two 330kV bulk power sources – from the Shiroro-Kaduna line 1 and 2, and the Jos–Kaduna line 1 and 2,” the report said.

Also in the the North-east, with a 285km transmission project,  the construction of a 330kV transmission line from Jos to Gombe of 285km is in the works, with the process also being funded by the AfDB.

“Through the strategic plan code-named Nigeria Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme (NEGMERP), TCN has executed several capital projects and reinforcement projects across the transmission regions in the country.

“I am not saying we have solved all the problems of revenue and investments; but we are constantly being creative and seeking active collaborations,” he said.

He added: “The transmission grid is becoming more stable as more projects are completed and connected to the grid, thanks to these investments.”

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