22 July 2014, Abuja – The Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki has shed some light on the issue of poor transmission capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which is a major hinderance to attainment of steady electricity supply.
He said that the transmission company with its extant financial stock cannot be said to be underfunded.
Dikki said funds available to TCN as at now are even more than enough for it to meet immediate transmission targets.
He said: “The government has taken a lot of initiatives and has provided funding to the TCN for improving transmission. $300 million parts of the $1 billion Eurobond loan was given to TCN, there are also loans from the AfDB and JICA to the TCN and currently, funding is not really the major challenge at TCN.
“TCN is in the process of identifying and executing projects that will utilise available funds, we are not saying that what they have now is sufficient but what they have now, they have to utilise before we can talk about additional funds.”
The BPE chief however admitted the sector’s urgent need for financial boost from the government in the form of subsidy.
“We are also going to remind government on the issue of subsidy because this market was designed on a defined ATC&C loss threshold and by reason of that percentage, you know that some revenue is already leaked out.
“That is why government made provision in 2014 for subsidy and we need to bring this revenue into the system to bridge the gap of payment due to the Gencos so that we don’t hurt them because the Gencos are not being paid fully and if they are not being paid, they could consider not generating and if they don’t generate, a vicious cycle will come in.”
Dikki said the agency would ensure that government releases those subsidy funding to enable it oil the market mechanism and ensure that the power sector continues to survive and grow.
Resently, Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo reaffirmed the December 2014 deadline given to the TCN to upgrade its electricity wheeling capacity to 6000mw.
Nebo said with the federal government’s commitment to upgrade the operations of the TCN and its affiliates, the transmission company would have no excuse for not meeting up with the December 2014 deadline, when substantial amount of electricity is expected to be generated and transmitted for distribution across the country.
The minister noted that the new management of the TCN has been focused, but admitted that a lot still needed to be done to ensure the company has the wheeling capacity to deliver the power that would be generated.
Aside from the problem of inadequate gas to power the gas-fired power plants, another thing that posed serious threat to the power privatisation is poor transmission.
– This Day