Nigeria: Govt extends Manitoba’s contract

Power transmission towers.

Power transmission towers.

*Despite electricity workers opposition

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

15 July 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has extended the management contract of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) with Manitoba Hydro International Limited (MHI) of Canada by one year.

The extension followed the imminent expiration of a three-year management contract signed in 2012 for MHI to manage TCN’s electrical power transmission, system operation and market operation undertakings, as well as train TCN personnel.

The three-year contract, which was signed by TCN, MHI and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and which would expire on July 31, 2015, has now been extended to July 31, 2016.

TCN’s General Manager in charge of Public Affairs, Seun Olagunju, who confirmed the extension in a statement yesterday, further stated that MHI would continue to assume responsibility for the management and control of TCN’s entire operations, working alongside their Nigerian counterparts to transform the company into a technically and financially efficient, stable, and sustainable company.

The statement added that MHI working together with TCN staff have achieved a wheeling capacity of 5,300 MW and reduced system losses from over 12 percent to approximately eight percent.

“In addition, system collapses have reduced significantly, from 22 in 2013 to 9 in 2014, while the duration of collapses has reduced from more than 2.5 hours to approximately 30 minutes.
The fourth year of the contract will focus on further increasing TCN’s capacity to transmit power in the grid, in anticipation of rising levels of generation in the country.

Additionally, MHI will facilitate the unbundling of TCN into two new organizations, the
Transmission Service Provider and the Independent System Operator, while simultaneously building the capacity of local management to take over the leadership of these organizations at the end of its contract,” Olagunju explained.

Electricity workers had threatened to stop the plans by the Federal Government to renew the contract of Manitoba Hydro International with regard to the management of the TCN.

According to the workers, the contract should not be renewed because Manitoba has failed to recognise best practical and cost effective solutions recommended by power sector experts for the quick improvement of the TCN.

The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), stated that their assessment over the past three years showed that the contractor had chosen to seek a private audience with the government and to plead that it was a victim of circumstance instead of admitting to its failure.

The General Secretary, NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, who outlined 34 reasons why Manitoba had failed, stated that the touted successes recorded by the contractor were minor.

“It is, therefore, our advice that the contract should not be renewed. Where the government decides to ignore this advice, the union from Monday, July 13, 2015, will explore all legal means to protect the interest of the workers in the sector and Nigerians in general,” Ajaero said.

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