By Etuka Sunday
The Federal Government has disconnected the Republics of Benin and Togo over $7million electricity debts.
Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed who disclosed this said, with the efforts of TCN under his leadership, the debt for the Republics of Benin and Togo have been reduced from $100 million to $7m, adding that Niger Republic owe below $2m.
“Electricity is not charity. We cannot allow people to consume electricity and leave us like that; they pay. We are also determined that they complete the payment. In fact, as at now, we have restricted their supply to only their contractual debts and we are insisting that they pay all their outstanding before we reconnect them,” he noted.
The TCN boss disclosed this recently at a quarterly briefing in Abuja.
He said, the company has completed the installation of 68 transformers nationwide and will take its transmission capacity to 10,000 megawatts (MW) from 8,100MW by 2020.
He said, the transformers were installed between February 2017 and October 2019 through the implementation of the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP).
He said, the TREP targets raising the bulk power transmission wheeling capacity from 6,500MW to 10,000MW in 2020 and reaching 20,000MW by 2021.
He disclosed that the conductors to be used for the line reconductoring have arrived Nigeria for upgrading major lines in Lagos, Onitsha, Kaduna and many other areas which will raise the grid capacity to evacuate the 10,000MW power.
“We believe that by June, July we should be able to complete those reconductoring and come up with that capacity.”
The TCN boss said the capacity could be more than the projection due to other transmission lines project being delivered, including the Jos to Kaduna line which about 98 percent completed.
He gave updates of the various power transmission projects being executed by TCN under TREP. Among these projects are the 486 million dollar World Bank financed projects and the Abuja Transmission Ring project.
He however reiterated calls for the strengthening of the operations of the 11 power Distribution Companies (DisCos) to enable them evacuate more power from the upgraded and enhanced facilities of TCN.
Mohammed who is also the Chairman, Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) said Nigeria’s power generation is the cheapest in West Africa.
“It means that we can generate electricity, create employment for our people and earn foreign exchange. We create an electricity market that is sustainable and that would actually help the growth of our GDP and the economy,” he said.