Transmission collapse: Stakeholders fault Nebo on probe committee

Prof Chinelo Nebo18 June 2013, Lagos – Some stakeholders in the power sector have faulted the decision of Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, to set up an investigative panel to unravel the causes of the frequent system collapse of the transmission network, saying both the federal government and other relevant stakeholders understood the causes of the system failures.

Nebo had recently inaugurated a 13-member committee to investigate the causes of frequent system collapse in the country. But one of the stakeholders in the sector said Nebo’s action amounted to “chasing the shadows because the government itself could not claim ignorance of the cause of the collapse.”

“The current transmission network was designed to carry 3,000 – 3,500 megawatts and once this load is exceeded, the system will collapse. The solution is that all the generation should not be fed to the national grid because the system has exceeded its load-carrying capacity. The government should adopt the model used in Jos in Plateau State, where the electricity being generated from a power plant does not pass through the grid,” he said.

Another official in one of the power companies faulted the composition of the committee, saying they are largely made up of officials, who would not tell the government the truth for fear of loss of their jobs.

“Who are members of the committee? Are they still not our people? They are still our people but they will not tell the government the truth because they will not want to lose their jobs. Nebo should stop wasting time, setting up committees because they know the problem,” he said.

Also a source close to the committee said the government had refused to be realistic in tackling the problem in the transmission and accused Manitoba Hydro International, the management contractor of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) of lack of understanding of the system.

“The government does not want to be realistic. The Manitoba people don’t understand the system,” he said, without further clarification. He however said the setting up of the committee was diversionary as both the government and other relevant stakeholders clearly understood the cause of the transmission crisis.

Nebo himself acknowledged recently in Lagos that the increasing frequency of collapse of the power transmission network, which had officially reached 15 times since the beginning of this year, was caused by rainfall and vegetation. He said many of the power outages and system failures experienced in recent weeks were caused by vegetation.

Nebo said the research he conducted showed that power supply situation was usually worst between the period of April and July due to rainfall, which caused outages and system failures.

“Like the system failure in Bayelsa, which knocked off the entire Bayelsa State for over two weeks and we had to put in everything to restore that, was caused by a huge tree falling and destroying the very foundation, one of the transmission towers. The one that happened in Birni Kebbi affecting three different states was also caused by a big storm that occurred and knocked out three transmission towers. So, this is the time that this thing occurs and we are doing our best not only to take care of these things at this time but also to make sure that the occurrences don’t repeat next year,” he said.

– This Day

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