TCN: Disco’s Power Investment Destroying Transmission Equipment
The lack of investment in electricity distribution network by power distributors is making power transmission equipment to fail in many parts of Nigeria.
According to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, the inability of Discos to properly invest in distribution infrastructure recently led to the failure of five TCN power transformers in Abuja, Anambra and Benin, a development that may continue if not addressed.
Speaking during an inspection tour of some of TCN’s substations in Abuja on Monday, the Managing Director of the firm, Usman Mohammed, told journalists that the firm lost about $10m as a result of the failure of the five transformers, stressing that the equipment failed because of the lack of commensurate investment by the Discos.
He said, “Let me tell you why these transformers are failing. The distribution companies are not investing in their networks and because of this most of our transformers have to supply the customers of Discos directly. So there is no protection between our equipment and that of the Discos.
“And if there is a fault on their side, it hits our transformers directly and that is why we’ve been having transformer failures. This is why we are calling on the government to come up with a policy directive that will lead to the recapitalisation of the Discos. We are also calling on NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) to do a regulatory order that will lead to the recapitalisation of Discos.”
Mohammed added, “This is because out of the 731 interfaces between us and the Discos, only 421 are fully protected. The rest are not protected and these unprotected areas are places where we’ve been losing our transformers. Recently, we lost two in Abuja, one in Onitsha and another two in Benin.
“And if we don’t have protection on the side of the Discos, we will continue to lose our transformers. So protection requires investment on the side of the Discos, which is why we are calling on the government to come up with a regime that will force the Discos to recapitalise.”
Mohammed explained that electricity is mainly managed through the protection of power equipment.
“For instance, the fuse in your electric appliance is a form of protection so that if there is a problem inside your house, the appliance will trip off and the problem won’t be taken to the grid,” he said.
He added, “So between us and the Discos there is meant to be an injection substation where they will also have their own protection. And on our side, we will have our protection that will isolate the substation from the main grid. So when there is no investment coming from the Discos, we will be supplying their customers directly and this is a problem.”
When asked to state the amount lost by the TCN as a result of the failed transformers, Mohammed replied, “To build a 60MVA transformer like this one here, import it and install it, the sum needed is close to about $2m. You know what it means to lose $2m.”