Fresh facts have emerged that despite the federal government’s efforts to upgrade the transmission infrastructure, the network is still very weak and may be unable to carry a generating capacity of up to 4,000megawatts for a long duration, without collapse.
THISDAY gathered from sources at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) that contrary to the erroneous impression that the transmission system was being sabotaged to cause frequent collapse, the cause of the system failures experienced in recent weeks was actually ailing transmission network that had suffered long years of neglect.
One of the top officials of the TCN told THISDAY at the weekend that the some of the transmission lines had been “working for about 40 years without any conscious efforts to upgrade or alternate them.”
Another official also disclosed that the national grid was too weak to transmit a generation capacity of up to 4,000mw for long duration without causing system failures.
He acknowledged the massive upgrade of the transmission network being carried out by the federal government but said the new projects would not have an immediate impact due to the long years of neglect of the system.
“The upgrading cannot have an impact. For instance, the area around the Lagos State University (LASU) was taking power from 3/15MVA transmission substation. It was upgraded to 3/60MVA and this resulted in massive improvement in power supply in the area. However, another big residential area has been developed behind that place and they will take power from the same 3/60MVA. When we give this new area power, there will be suppressed demand load and it will wipe away all the improvement the LASU area has been experiencing and supply will be worse,” he said.
Speaking recently during an inspection of a burnt transmission facility at the Ikeja West Transmission Station in Ipaja area of Lagos, the biggest transmission facility in the country, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the country’s transmission infrastructure did not have the capacity to withstand up to 5,000megawatts of electricity.
He however stated that by the end of 2014, the system would be able to transmit up to 10,000mw.
“We are actually supposed to have more transmission capacity than generation capacity but that is not the case now. That is being addressed and we are hoping that when all the projects that are ongoing are completed now, we should be able to transmit over 5,000mw. But by the end of 2014, we should have the capacity to transmit up to 10,000mw. So, we are moving in that direction. We are strengthening what we already have and also building new ones because installed capacity is aging and dilapidated,” he added.
He said the generation target by 2017 would be 20,000mw, adding that by 2020, it would hit 40,000mw.
Nebo said the power roadmap launched in 2010 was being reviewed to reflect the current realities, stressing that the old roadmap was also being implemented.
Information from ThisDay was used in this report.