The Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed, has said the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) need to capitalise to meet estimated $4.262 billion (about N1.549 trillion) funding for new transformers and injection substations.
Mohammed who spoke at an interactive forum for retired NEPA/PHCN/TCN staff in Abuja last weekend said TCN launched a Transmission Master Plan in February 2018 that shows the DisCos need the fund to expand their networks for over 20,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity in few years.
He said: “When we simulated our investments, we also simulated the DisCos’ investments. The investment requirement of the DisCos is $4.2 billion as hard investment in injection substations, feeders and transformers.
“What we are suggesting is that the DisCos need capitalisation. Capitalisation will come with new management for efficiency. If government increases the capital requirement of the DisCos, they will go and look for other competent investors and we believe this is our position,” Mohammed submitted.
Mr Mohammed also said the lack of DisCos’ investments was affecting transmission facilities. “Under the Grid Code, TCN and DisCos have their responsibilities. It is not our fault that they failed to invest but their lack of investment is affecting our systems.
“We are writing a petition to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that for those areas that DisCos take supply directly from our transformers because they have failed to build their injection substations, NERC should make it a rule that if such transformers get spoilt where the DisCos failed to invest, they should compensate us.”
TCN said it has already lost two transformers in Abuja this year from such faults.
NERC Chairman, Prof. James Momoh urged TCN to use its Project Management Units (PMU) to raise advanced technology to protect transmission investment and collate real time data for the electricity industry saying, “We at NERC will do our very best to support you.”
Chairman of the occasion and a former Managing Director of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Engr. Hamza Ibrahim, acknowledged the current liquidity crisis in the power sector.
He said the retired experts would listen to the problems of TCN and contribute to solving that from their wealth of experience to improve TCN performance and that of the entire sector.