The federal government has extended Manitoba’s contract to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria for one year
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jul 27, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE federal government has failed to heed the call by the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, not to renew the Manitoba Hydro International contract of managing the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. On Monday, July 13, the government extended the Canadian company’s contract for another one year following the expiration of the three-year management contract signed in 2012 for Manitoba to manage TCN’s electrical power transmission, system operation and market operation undertakings, as well as train TCN personnel.
The three-year contract, which was signed by TCN, Manitoba and the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, will on July 31, 2015, but has been extended to July 31, 2016. Seun Olagunju, general manager in charge of public affairs, TCN, who confirmed the extension in a statement noted that Manitoba would continue to assume responsibility for the management and control of TCN’s entire operations, working alongside their Nigerian counterparts to transform the company into a technically and financially efficient, stable, and sustainable company.
The statement added that Manitoba working together with TCN staff has achieved a wheeling capacity of 5,300 megawatts, MW, and reduced system losses from over 12 percent to approximately eight percent. “In addition, system collapses have reduced significantly, from 22 in 2013 to 9 in 2014, while the duration of collapses has reduced from more than 2.5 hours to approximately 30 minutes. The fourth year of the contract will focus on further increasing TCN’s capacity to transmit power in the grid, in anticipation of rising levels of generation in the country. Additionally, MHI will facilitate the unbundling of TCN into two new organisations, the Transmission Service Provider and the Independent System Operator, while simultaneously building the capacity of local management to take over the leadership of these organisations at the end of its contract,” Olagunju said.
The NUEE had on Sunday, July 12, threatened to stop the federal government from renewing the contract of Manitoba. According to the workers, the contract should not be renewed because Manitoba failed to recognise best practical and cost effective solutions recommended by power sector experts for quick improvement of the TCN.
The workers stated that their assessment over the past three years showed that the contractor had chosen to seek a private audience with the government and to plead that it was a victim of circumstance instead of admitting its failure. Joe Ajaero, general secretary, NUEE, said in a statement, “If this administration is still confused on this matter, then the best solution is to have the management contractor and power sector experts sit together with the government to address each and every issue so as to properly determine the fate of the TCN management contract.”
The NUEE secretary, who outlined 34 reasons why Manitoba had failed, stated that the touted successes recorded by the contractor were minor. “It is, therefore, our advice that the contract should not be renewed. Where the government decides to ignore this advice, the union from Monday, July 12, 2015, will explore all legal means to protect the interest of the workers in the sector and Nigerians in general,” Ajaero said.
Acknowledging that there were certain issues beyond the contractor’s control, the union stated that many critical performance-related concerns were actually within Manitoba’s power and would have resulted in a more reliable grid wheeling up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity by December 31, 2014.
But the management of the TCN, in a statement on Sunday, argued that the generation of electricity into the national grid was steadily improving to over 4,000MW with the improvement in fuel supply. In a statement issued by Olagunju, the company said it was transmitting over 4,000MW on a regular basis to the electricity distribution companies nationwide.
The statement also refuted the allegation by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company that the national grid had suffered series of system collapses recently, stressing that there had been no such development. Olagunju argued that the frequency of system collapses had been going down drastically, following several equipment and infrastructure upgrade by the TCN.
The federal government had on May 28, 2012 entered into a three-year management contract with Manitoba, a Canadian company, to transform the TCN into a technically and financially viable company. The contract was to ensure that the firm would be able to evacuate the maximum capacity of generated power from the generating companies to the distribution firms and down to the teeming consumers throughout Nigeria on a 24-hour basis.