NUEE Kicks Against Renewal of Manitoba’s Contract

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Joe Ajaero

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The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, doesn’t want the federal government to renew the contract of Manitoba Hydro International to continue with the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria

ELECTRICITY workers across the country under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, have threatened to stop the federal government from renewing the contract of Manitoba Hydro International to continue with the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. According to the workers, the contract should not be renewed because Manitoba has 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 in Abuja on Sunday, July 12: “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.”

Ajaero, 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,” he 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 more than 4,000MW with the improvement in fuel supply. In a statement issued by Seun Olagunju, general manager, public affairs, TCN, the company said it was transmitting more than 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.

— Jul 13, 2015 @ 12:45 GMT

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