THE Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has apologised to the people of Maiduguri, Damboa, Biu and other communities in Borno State for the power outage being experienced in the communities since mid-July. Seun Olagunju, general manager, public affairs, TCN, said the outage was caused by a cut conductor on the 132kV transmission line from Damboa to Maiduguri as well as a 330/132kV transmission substation in Damboa that was set ablaze in June.
Olagunju said with the necessary security and logistic support from the federal government, the TCN had already organised materials and mobilised manpower to carry out necessary repairs on the transmission line as well as reconstruct the burnt substation. However, she said that due to the magnitude of the repairs required, work on the transmission line and substation might take up to eight weeks to complete.
The TCN spokesperson further stated that the company had also put in place urgent plans to complete the 330kV transmission line from Gombe to Maiduguri and the new 330/132KV substation at Maiduguri to enable it supply electricity through the 330kV transmission line to the Borno State capital and environs. Also, a 150MVA, 330KV transformer meant for the Maiduguri substation would now be moved from the Shiroro substation en route Abuja to Maiduguri, and the contractors and in-house engineers who would ensure speedy repairs are set for the task.
“The TCN reassures the government and good people of Maiduguri and environs of the government’s determination to ensure a robust and efficient transmission system nationwide; Borno State, being an integral part of Nigeria, is not an exception. It is prepared to promptly attend to any fault in its transmission system in order to continue to efficiently wheel power to the distribution load centres nationwide,” she said, while regretting the inconveniences caused by the outage to the government and customers in the affected areas of Borno State.
Total Plc Focuses on Solar Power in Nigeria
TOTAL Plc is targeting to build solar power plants that will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity in Nigeria. This project is part of the company’s efforts to address the power supply challenges facing the country. Elisabeth Proust, managing director, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, said the company had decided to focus on one type of alternative energy in Nigeria, which is Solar.
According to her, the company started in many countries in West Africa, Asia and the Middle East by providing energy to the people with no electricity. “We also bought one of the leading developers of solar panels, called Sun Power. It is good to see that CSR can lead to an industry change. Total has developed what we call the Awango solar lamp for personal use where electricity supply is not constant. We sell this through Total filling stations in Nigeria but hope to also move it into commercial stores. There are two types of solar energy depending on how electricity is generated from the sun. The first type is photovoltaic cells.
“This has special cells which capture the sun radiation even where you have clouds. This was the case in Indonesia and it is also the case for Nigeria – you need to use photovoltaic cells. The second one uses a system of direct mirrors. We used this in Abu Dhabi because we have constant direct radiation from the sun. But for Nigeria, if you want everyday electricity, the photovoltaic system is the right technology to use as it works even in a rainy country though it is obviously more effective if it gets direct sunlight,” she said.
Proust said Total had developed industrial solar plants in several countries, adding that similar projects were started in Nigeria three years ago. According to her, the company had identified five projects, which it could execute in collaboration with other companies and some institutions that provide funds to assist in the creation of such projects.
She further clarified that the funds are not from Total but from the company’s partners. “At the present, we are planning to launch one of the projects in 2015. This requires a lot of measures because you need to effectively identify the best location with high intensity of radiation. The North of Nigeria is the best place because it has the most sun. We have a project in Katsina because it is an ideal position with a lot of sunlight and less clouds and rains. We work with authorities to achieve our objective. We are targeting plants of about 200 to 300 megawatts so we can reach something around 1,000 megawatts. So, this is really an industrial development. We have a big organization on solar energy in Total in Nigeria and we have a special team that is ready to assist on the special technical side to address any challenges.”
NERC Opens Forum Office in Benin
THE National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has opened a forum office in Benin, Edo State capital, to address unresolved issues between the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, and its customers. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, who inaugurated the office, said the initiative would enhance NERC’s mandate of protecting the rights of customers.
Nebo said the “success of the ongoing reforms in the sector is obvious on the level of interaction among the stakeholders.” He canvassed support for the distribution companies to ensure that consumers’ rights were protected. And that the forum would serve as a platform and a major talk point for the resolution of electricity issues from various communities.
“The commission has the mandate to ensure that Nigerians have adequate and reliable supply of power. Let me use this opportunity to emphasise that the Federal Government’s efforts are quite glaring and it will not rest on its laurels until it has achieved the desire to provide electricity for all. It takes the commitment of all stakeholders and patience of the consumers to achieve this goal. There is no gainsaying that the success of the electricity sector is dependent on the effective coordination of the sector,” he said.
Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, explained that the forum office was set up specifically to bridge the gap between power consumers and the electricity distribution company in the state. “The forum is a body charged by the commission to hear and resolve customer complaints on appeal in the operational area of every distribution licensee. Complaints that may come to the forum are complaints not settled at the customer care units situated in the distribution company,” he said.
Amadi said officials of complaints office were drawn from relevant stakeholders which, he said, included the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Consumer Protection Council, Nigerian Society of Engineers, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
He, however, urged electricity consumers to demonstrate understanding with the distribution company in the state, bearing in mind that the transformation in the power sector was a gradual process. Meanwhile, Funke Osibodu, managing director, BEDC, has described the effort of NERC as a timely intervention to boost interaction between the company and its numerous consumers.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Sep. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT