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Senate summons Manitoba over poor power transmission

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The Senate Committee on Privatisation has summoned Manitoba, the Canadian company managing the Transmission Company of Nigeria, to appear before it next week Tuesday or Wednesday to explain the reason(s) for poor electricity transmission in the country.

Our correspondent learnt that this was the climax of an oversight visit by the committee to power firms in Lagos on Monday.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, during a late night meeting between the lawmakers and the management members of the Lagos region of the TCN, expressed disappointment over the company’s low capacity and poor performance in the region.

He said, “The Gencos and Discos complain about transmission, and in fairness to them, the transmission infrastructure is weak. We have seen that. That is the essence of the oversight visit.

“If we are not here, we won’t know. That is why we are calling on Manitoba that is contractually in charge of transmission to tell us what the problem is really.”

Obadara said the committee would request for the contract the Federal Government signed with Manitoba, peruse it and take the company up on the contract when the firm appeared before it.

The transmission infrastructure has been described as the weakest link in the country’s electricity supply chain, with lines that are, failing, dilapidated and in need of replacement.

In spite of the private sector players’ incursion into the industry, inadequate transmission infrastructure is one of the challenges, is hindering efficient transmission of power to consumers.

The transmission network currently has the capability to evacuate less than 3,000MW of electricity and covers less than 40 per cent of the country’s land area.

To solve the problem, the government had handed over the TCN to Manitoba Hydro of Canada under a three-year management contract worth $24m.

The General Manager, Transmission, TCN, Lagos Region, Mr. Oyeleke Adeoye, lamented the lack of adequate funding for facilities and manpower; inadequate operational and maintenance vehicles; lack of safety facilities such as fire fighting trucks and absence of redundant line to augment the active ones.

According to him, the Lagos region, with four sub regions and one work centre, gets about N200m per annum for operation and maintenance despite wheeling about 45 per cent of the power generated in the country.

He explained that though the region had capacity for transmitting 1,500MW daily, this usually dropped to about 300MW whenever it rained, because the networks would trip off.

Obadara said, “If you are wheeling about 45 per cent of power generated and you get N200m per annum for operations and maintenance, there is a problem. If you have no fire fighting equipment and vehicles, there is a problem.

“That is why we are inviting Manitoba. The committee is not taking it lightly; we are going to work with everybody concerned. “

The senator, however, said it was important for the Federal Government to provide adequate funding for the transmission company, while insisting that the committee would look into the agreement the government signed with Manitoba.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government says it has earmarked $4bn for the construction and rehabilitation of power transmission infrastructure across the country.

Vice President Namadi Sambo disclosed this on Tuesday while receiving the Vice President of the State Grid Corporation of China, Mr. Cheng Wei, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Article Credit: Punchng

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Senate Committee Send For Manitoba Over Poor Power Transmission