The federal government through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing commissioned transmission substation at Mayo Belwa in Adamawa state. The 132/33KV substation with a 40MVA transformer was commissioned by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The Minister made it known that the government has also invested N72 billion as intervention loan for Distribution Companies (DisCos) across the country which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Nigeria’s power privatization began in 2013 after which government retained 40 per cent stake in the 11 DisCos while private equity accounted for 60 per cent. This will be the first intervention loan to the DisCos directly from government shareholder since the privatised operation. This is quite a good gesture from the government.
As part of intervention, the Minister acquaint the power sector with N701.9bn Payment Assurance Guarantee (PAG) to the Generation Companies (GenCos) to boost their liquidity and deliver more electricity to the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been disbursing a loan of N213bn under its Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Fund (NEMSF) to about 47 power firms including the DisCos since 2015 with intervention of supplying power.
Fashola also charged the 11 DisCos to invest more in their networks to complement the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) grid expansion following the N72bn commitment from government. He told them not to disappoint the government and sabotage its efforts.
The Minister also noted that with the new 40MVA (32MW capacity) Mayo Belwa substation, over seven towns of Adamawa State including Mayo Belwa, Numan, Jada and Lamorde will witness improved electricity delivery with the commissioning of the substation adding that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing complemented the TCN project by installing distribution transformers in the franchise area.
He stated thus, “With this development, TCN has not only improved the quality of power in this area but it has also increased the wheeling capacity of TCN which was lasted simulated in December 2017 to be above 7,000 megawatts (MW).” He explained further that TCN has acquired vast lands to upgrade the new substation to a 330/132/33KV substation and the 132/33KV Jalingo substation to carry more power to the Northeast states even though they have been hit by insurgency and attacks from militia men.
The Minister assured that the 330/132/33KV Yola substation will be upgraded by 350MVA capacity as a 150MVA, and two units of 100MVA transformers will be installed along with other equipment soon.
Fashola expressed optimism that the federal government has resolved hurdles in completing the 40MW Dadin Kowa hydropower plant in Gombe state as the transmission line is being completed while TCN will install Static Var Compensator (SVC) in Gombe to improve the quality of power in the region. This, according to him, will improve electricity supply to northeast in spite of impediments.
In a related development, a Principal Manager with TCN, Alhaji Aminu Yau, noted that the construction of 330 Kilo Voltage Molai transmission substation in Maiduguri is currently 90 per cent completed. Yau disclosed this in Maiduguri during an inspection of the project by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri.
He said that the contractor handling the project, Best and Crompton Company was currently undergoing testing processes of installed facilities at the substation.
If the project is completed, it will speed up the existing Maiduguri 132/33 Kilo Voltage and, the Damboa 132/33 Kilo Voltage substations. Yau opined that the 330 Kilo Voltage line was drawn from Gombe through Damaturu to Molai adding that, even if completed, the substation would not be energized because, the Damaturu substation had to been completed.
The Principal Manager said that a portion of the line from Benishiek to Damaturu has been vandalized and would pose a challenge to energising the Molai substation.
“The project was initially awarded to Channel Engineering Company in 2008 but was revoked because of lack of performance before it was re-awarded to Best and Crompton Company,” he added.
Yau blamed the delay in the completion of the project to the challenges of insecurity in the area that has been ravaged by Boko Haram attacks.
Speaking about Molai substation, Mr Kovilpillai Babu, the Project Manager, Best and Crompton Company said the project was awarded to his company in 2011 but could not work for three years because of insecurity. Babu said the company was currently undergoing testing processes of the facilities adding that TCN was being awaited for a date to energise the substation.
However, Shehuri noted that the project had taken a long time and added that the people of Maiduguri and environ were anxiously waiting for its inauguration. The Minister of State for Power further said that there was need for the stakeholders to come together to discuss the modalities on how the substation would be energised and pledged to call for the meeting.
Shehuri emphasized that the Damaturu substation would no longer be a problem to energising the project because it had been completed taken over by TCN.