By Etuka Sunday
The Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed has disclosed the launch of Regional Electricity Market by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) in June this year.
Mohammed who doubles as the Chairman of WAPP Executive Board made the disclosure at the Meeting of Stakeholders of West African Power Firms in Abuja.
According to him, ”WAPP in conjunction with ERERA, the regulatory body for West Africa is hoping to launch the regional electricity market by June 2018. Because of that, there are several sensitisation we are carrying out, to sensitise member utilities firms on the plan to kick start the regional electricity market.
“There are several things that are involved in the regional electricity market and synchronisation is just one of them. It means that all the electricity that is generated across the sub region have to be synchronised so that from Nigeria to Cote D’ivoire can have the same power frequency,” he said.
The WAPP Board Chairman said it was for the same purpose that TCN last year embarked on frequency control which it achieved and attained at 39.5 and 30.5, adding that “in the last 20 years this has not been achieved and it enabled WAPP and the rest of the country to synchronise their power.”
On whether the market would guarantee 100 per cent payment, the TCN boss said, there is a mechanism in place to ensure payment in the market.
”We have other mechanism we are putting in place to ensure payment in the market but even as it is, the payment in the international market is far better than the local market and we are still working to improve it. whether it will gurantee 100 per cent payment, I cant tell you because even in the WAPP sub region like Benin and Niger, the distirbtuion companies are still the weakest link as they are not collecting all the money.
“We are working with WAPP to improve the collection capacities of distribution firms by forming mechanisms that will guarantee payment like this synchronisation,” he said.
Mohammed said in terms of economy, “WAPP is to enable trade between Nigeria and other countries. Trade create jobs; if there is a generation company in Nigeria that sells power to Benin, that company will create job for Nigeria. it is also creating business for our country because the company that is selling energy in Benin will also be able to make profit.
“The vision of the regional electricity market is also to provide energy security so that if tomorrow, Nigeria has a problem of gas supply, Nigeria can import energy from Ghana or Burkina Faso depending on which has cheaper source of energy. We are not also building transmission lines for just five to 10 years; it is something that should last for 100 years to boost electricity trade.
“For the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM), we are doing many things to ensure things work differently. For transmission, we have put significant of money to put enough capacity for transmission. We believe that in the next two to three years, we will have the N-1 international standard all over the country. We are making sure to optimise and implement our projects in the most effective way. If you check, almost on weekly basis, we are commissioning transformers,” he said.