CBN’s N103bn TCN/DisCos’ intervention and electricity grid stability  

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is providing about $250 million (N104b) for the rehabilitation of the critical interfaces between the transmission and distribution to increase and stabilize power delivery across the country. TOPE SUNDAY writes. 
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its emergency approach to ensure the stability of the country’s national grid and power system is currently providing about $250 million (N104b) for the rehabilitation of critical interfaces between transmission and distribution to increase and stabilise power delivery. The project, which is expected to strengthen the interface between the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Electricity Distribution Companies (Gencos) is expected to gulp about N104 billion and spread across critical locations in the country.

Stakeholders are, however, insisting that although interventions in the sector, especially the alignment of the interface between TCN and DisCos remains critical, it is high time to ensure that the sector operates optimally without support from the government.

Recall that the power sector was privatized in 2013 to ensure that power supply to homes and industries improves such that the nation’s economy is energized and government involvement in the sector, especially in terms of funding reduces, reverse however is the prevailing reality as the sector remained epileptic with supply currently hovering at 2000 megawatts. 
FG and $250m power project 
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, stated that the CBN is already funding a $250 million project to ensure the rehabilitation of critical interfaces infrastructure between Transmission and Distribution to increase and stabilize power delivery. 
This, according to him, is in addition to the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) that will bring in additional $2.0 billion or more to the Transmission Grid from the government. 
While the grid has continued to fail with two system collapses last week alone, Aliyu said: “Government is almost $4 billion secured by this administration to augment the Grid. It should be noted that many of these funds are being actively spent and the results will be felt over time. 

According to him, the interface projects along with others already being embarked upon by TCN brings ongoing projects in the transmission segment alone to 135 ongoing projects with 30 completed key Substation Projects and 12 transmission Lines.

The Market Operator at TCN, Edward Eje said: “The interface project is aimed at providing quick solutions at various transmission/distribution interfaces where there are challenges. This makes sense to me. It is a laudable measure to achieve a seamless and a hitch-free power transmission from the Transmission Stations to the Distribution network. 
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, (NBET), Dr. Nnaemeka Eweluka, disclosed that the apex bank was able to identify critical projects that could quickly address and restore normalcy. has actually performed a very positive role in trying to sort out these electricity market challenges. The CBN is working with TCN and the DisCos. CBN basically asked what are those critical projects that if they are addressed today can quickly yield results in the sector?

“This is even as the Federal Government is doing this Siemens project and TCN is implementing the report, what are those critical projects that if they are done today, will unlock additional megawatts quickly. And so the DISCOs and TCN worked together to come up with a list of some critical projects and I can’t be specific on the amount, maybe we can furnish that subsequently but that is what is happening’’ he said.

He said CBN decided to find those critical interventions so that there could be some quick wins even as the bigger project is being implemented.

Move, response to liquidity challenge—Expectations of the privatisation programme is that the sector would be self-funding so government  would ultimately stop funding it, that benchmark has not been realised. 

“It is in direct response to this liquidity challenge that the CBN was brought into the loop. There is therefore sense in the involvement of the CBN in the interface projects between DisCo and TCN,” Fadipe said.

According to him, the gains of the DisCo/TCN funded interface project is huge as it would help to bring more load into the grid and by doing so, more people will be able to receive electricity for their use.

Fadipe stated that quality of supply is also expected to increase because in some locations where the transformers are overloaded, they would be upgraded. 

A consumer advocate and legal expert, Kunle Olubiyo, noted that the continuous intervention while critical shows that such intervention shows that the essence of privatising the sector has been defeated, adding: “It is not supposed to be.”

Olubiyo noted that the poor governance system, lack of monitoring, accountability and weak set up of the market were responsible for the financial issues in the sector.

“At this point, we no longer need a prophet to tell us that things are not working. It is a supposedly privatized sector and the essence of it is that it is meant to be private sector driven. That is not how it is,” Olubiyo stated.

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