The federal government has reportedly approved the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to be the anchorman for a N72 billion investment it plans to sink into the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) to upgrade their distribution infrastructure and networks.
This is just as the TCN has dissed Discos in Nigeria for repeatedly failing to provide stable electricity services to their consumers, stating that about 80 per cent of electricity used in Togo and Benin Republic came from Nigeria and through its network, with the distribution networks of these countries providing stable power to their customers while that of Nigeria don’t.
Speaking at a meeting with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, the Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, stated that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had got an approval from the government for the TCN to manage the N72 billion planned investment in the Discos.
Mohammed suggested that the TCN got the nod because it already had a comprehensive systems study and plan on Nigeria’s electricity network. He noted that the investment would help stabilise the country’s electricity grid.
“Discos have low capacity, investments have not been done in the Discos, you know it. We have commissioned so many substations, go and find out how many of these have been done by the Discos. That is why we are begging the government and anybody that is willing to listen to us that investments need to go to the Discos.
“We are actually working with the government to see that the last mile which is now the weakest link in the power value chain which is distribution, that investments is directed to that sector,” said Mohammed.
He further explained: “In the past, the government had not shown interest in putting money in the distribution, but recently the minister of power has approached the government and got it to approve N72 billion which will be invested in the Discos.
“This is one milestone that will help us to also stabilise the grid. It is in our interest that distribution is rehabilitated and I can tell you we lost two transformers in Abuja because of poor distribution. If distribution is not fixed, it will affect us at the TCN.
“Government is investing in the Discos and it is TCN that is managing the investment. We are managing it on behalf of the minister of power.”
Speaking on the failures of the Discos, and why he considered their excuses untenable, Mohammed said: “The reality of the matter is that we need investments in the Discos. Some of you may not know, but those of you who have the opportunity of entering Benin Republic, 80 per cent of electricity that is consumed in Benin and Togo is coming from Nigeria.
“Go there, you will see stable power, we at the transmission network are the one taking power to them, why is it that they have stable power but we don’t have here, it is because our distribution network is weak. Go to Togo and see how a distribution network is.”