Stag Engineering completes conversion to high voltage project

Clara Nwachukwu

Indigenous firm, Stag Engineering Nigeria Limited, has successfully completed the conversion from low voltage to high voltage distribution system, HVDS, electricity project, of the LUTH Cluster for the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

The electricity project, which is a World Bank’s – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/International Development Agency IBRD/IDA financed project, however took longer than expected, taking about three years, against the projected nine months.

At the handover of the project to PHCN officials in Lagos last week, Stag Engineering explained that the project was designed as one of the pilot schemes to reduce instances of power outage due to constant overloading and breakdown of the big transformers within the cluster areas.

The Project Manager, Prof. Raifu Ishola Salawu, who spoke on behalf of Stag, the contractors of the project, commended the PHCN for initiating the voltage conversion project as a means of improving the quality of electricity supply to the people.

“If the programme is eventually applied throughout the community, instances of power outages due to faulty transformers and illegal tapping of electricity will be considerably reduced, and will lead to stable uninterrupted voltage supply,” he said.

He, however, disclosed that the project took longer than anticipated due to a number of reasons. These include difficulties in accessing site locations, and soliciting the cooperation of residents to erect electricity poles and earthing system beside their premises. Others are disturbances by street urchins otherwise called “area boys”, as well as road construction works by the state government around some of the locations and a host of other issues.

Although the contract was awarded in October 2006, but the contractors said works could not commence until February 2007.

In the end, “A total of 337 25KV transformers and 494 50KV transformers were erected to serve about 11,447 customers who are connected to the network,” he added. These were distributed among four substations located in Atunrase, Ishaga, Okoh and Ogunlana in the ratio of 9, 12, 14 and 13 respectively.

The General Manager, PHCN Project Monitoring Unit, PHCN-PMU, Mr M. Ganiyu, in a keynote address, said the commissioning of the LUTH Cluster of the HVDS, is the sixth in the series, with other successes recorded in Karu and Nyanya in Abuja; and Ogba and Agege in Lagos.

Ganiyu, who was represented by the Coordinator, Distribution, PHCN, Mr. Ciroma Joseph, said the projects are being executed under the National Energy Development Project, NEDP.

He said the project is “aimed at ensuring improvement in electricity service delivery to all Nigerians, and in particular, to the residents of the immediate environment.”

He added that the World Bank-assisted LVDS to HVDS was introduced under the Commercial Reorientation of Energy Sector Tool Kits, CREST scheme.

Ganiyu also disclosed that PHCN is nearing the completion of the first phase of the project in different clusters located in Abuja, Eko, Ikeja and Ibadan electricity distribution companies, with the second phase expected to kick off soon in five other distribution zones of Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Benin and Port Harcourt.

He listed the benefits of the high voltage system to include:
•Reduced technical and commercial losses, and failure of distribution transformers
•Reduced energy theft due to smaller low tension networks on individual transformers of smaller capacity
•Low maintenance cost and increased reliability of the distribution system
•Customer satisfaction as a result of better tail end voltage
•Better energy and peak load management as a result of the segmentation of customers, and
•Enhanced revenue base of the company.

Ganiyu, therefore urged the beneficiary customers in the affected areas to reciprocate Federal Government’s huge investments in the power sector by paying their bills promptly as well as adequately safe guarding the facilities.

He equally enjoined the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, in charge of the LUTH Cluster to ensure that their customers are properly metered and billed correctly based on their daily electricity consumption.

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