Power Ministry To Validate Actual National Grid Capacity, Accelerate Expansion –Adelabu
To enhance power transmission reliability in the country, the Federal Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu has said the Ministry would embark on the upgrade of facilities with modern technologies.
The Minister spoke at the weekend during an inspection tour of facilities at the National Control Centre, Osogbo and the Osogbo sub-regional office of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said the inspection was to assess the state of the facilities and equipment at the Control Center, with a view to upgrading them in line with modern technologies to improve services towards supporting a more reliable and stable transmission of power through the national grid.
“We will focus on expanding the electricity transmission capacity and improve its capacity vigorously and ensure a consistently stable national grid. There are so many conflicting information out there about the capacity of the National grid.
“Some say the grid capacity is 8,000MW, some 6,000MW while some insist it’s not more than 4,000MW. There is an urgent need to carry out a simulation exercise and stress-testing of the National grid with a view to establishing its actual existing capacity, determine the expansion required to enable us wheel more generated power to the grid and distribute to end consumers”, he said.
During the facility tour, Adelabu said the Ministry would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to improve power generation and ensure smooth transmission and distribution of electricity across the country.
He also revealed that investigation has commenced to unravel circumstances that led to the fire outbreak at the TCN Sub-station facility in Kebbi State that led to grid disruption last week, causing blackout nationwide for a few hours.
It would be recalled that a fire outbreak at the TCN substation switch yard in Birnin Kebbi, led to the destruction of transformers worth millions of naira.
According to the Minister, the fire incident in Kebbi looks more like sabotage as three transformers were said to have caught fire simultaneously.
The Minister vowed that those found culpable would face the full wrath of the law.
“We have set up a high-level investigation panel to see what led to that fire outbreak and I can assure you that if any of our staff is found culpable, such staff will face the wrath of the law. Those indicted will be severely dealt with, to serve as a deterrent to others.
“What I want to adopt during my time here is a carrot and stick approach. If you perform well, we will reward and motivate you to do more, but if you abandon your duty place or perform any act of sabotage, you will also face the full force of the law”.
The Minister also spoke on the need to protect the National grid by providing adequate security to prevent sabotage, adding that the Ministry has sought collaboration with the office of the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu to beef up security around Power installations across the country.
“We have contacted the office of the National Security Adviser to strengthen security around our installations across the country so that what happened in Birni-Kebbi will not repeat itself elsewhere. I want to assure you that going forward, we will do everything possible to ensure we don’t experience such disturbances of the national grid again. All we need is the cooperation, patience and understanding of Nigerians”.
Adelabu also spoke on the issue of unauthorized shutdowns of the national grid during industrial actions involving electricity workers, describing it as an act as economic sabotage and threat to national security.
The minister stressed that the protection of the national grid is a collective responsibility of all and sundry.
He reiterated that we should avoid any act that can cause a national blackout as it is not only dangerous for our economy and national security but also threatens the survival of individual households, businesses and industries.
The Minister, however, commended management and staff of the National Control Center for always rising up to the occasion to promptly restore power whenever the grid experiences disruptions in spite of the aging and dilapidated state of the equipment and facilities at the center.
He also recognised the immense contributions of all stakeholders in the power sector towards ensuring stability in electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
He said there is a need for stakeholders in the sector, especially directors, general managers of agencies and staff to put more efforts to bring the much needed progress in ensuring further efficiency in the delivery of stable, affordable and uninterrupted electricity to Nigerians.
“Nigerians need us and the President needs us to support him in achieving the renewed hope agenda of this administration. We cannot afford to fail Nigerians, we cannot afford to fail Mr President in the provision of power to Nigeria. The only way to harness the potentials of our human resources and the abundance of our natural resources endowment is by energising them through provision of consistent and functional electricity.
Also speaking during the visit, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TCN promised to work with the Minister to ensure smooth transmission of electricity as well as resolve fundamental challenges that have hampered the realisation of the huge investment of successive administrations in the power sector.
In separate remarks, the General Manager, National Control Centre of TCN, Osogbo, Engr. Buliaminu Ishola and the Executive Director, Independent Systems Operations, Engineer Maman Jimoh Lawal said the centre is always proactive in detecting technical fault and ensuring the maintenance of electricity transmission equipment for efficient service delivery to Nigerians.”