FG to resolve TCN’s issues relating to fibre optic telecoms assets —Fashola

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has reportedly given the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) its approval to procure extra power to serve as spinning reserve that could stabilise Nigeria’s electricity grid when there are unforeseen disturbances.

THISDAY gathered this much from the Managing Director of the TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, in Abuja, when the TCN hosted a workshop to review its plans to procure and install brand new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Energy Management System (EMS).
The commission according to Mohammed, had asked the transmission company to go ahead with its plan to advertise to procure the spinning reserve from existing operators in the country’s electricity market.

It was learnt that spinning reserves are usually on-line reserve capacities that are synchronised to the grid system and ready to meet electric demand within time of a dispatch instruction by the system operator.
Also, spinning reserves are needed to maintain system frequency stability during emergency operating conditions and unforeseen load swings. They are provided by devices that are synchronised to the electricity grid.

Speaking on what needed to be done to stabilise Nigeria’s electricity grid, as well as TCN’s efforts in this regard, Mohammed, said, “We need to do four things: we need to ensure that we have critical investments in network upgrade and new lines and that is why we have raised $1.57 billion from several donors to do that; we also need to have frequency control where the free-governor control will be enforced – we have enforced it and achieved 49.5 and 50.5 hertz and we are actually going ahead to enforce 49.8 and 50.2 hertz, this has significantly stabilised the grid.

“We also need to have what we call spinning reserve and the NERC has approved recently that we can acquire the spinning reserve through competitive means, we have prepared the document and will advertise soon to procure spinning reserve; the next thing is to have the SCADA so that anybody who does anything that will affect the grid will be seen and punished accordingly.”

Allaying fears of potential mismanagement of contract processes in the TCN, especially as it relates with the bid and procurement of the spinning reserves and SCADA, Mohammed, stated: “We have reorganised our procurement system such that only competent companies would bid for our contracts.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has disclosed the federal government would resolve the outstanding contractual issues that have hindered TCN from making the most of its fibre optic telecommunication assets across the country.

TCN recently had a brush with two indigenous telecommunication firms that allegedly breached the terms of the concession agreement it signed with them for the use of its fibre optic cable network. The two firms reportedly came short of payments to the TCN over the use of the infrastructure.

But Fashola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of power, Mr. Louis Edozien, at the TCN SCADA workshop, explained the government would find a way to resolve the issues to the benefit of all parties.

“Government is mindful of the advantages that can be gained from effective outsourcing and partnership with private operators of SCADA and EMS components including facilities, information systems infrastructure, telecommunications networks, system and services.

“Recognising the necessity for effective telecommunications in functional SCADA and EMS, government is also concerned about past efforts to optimise TCN’s fibre optic telecommunications assets, and the urgent need to resolve all outstanding operational and contractual issues in a way that is fair to TCN, fair to those who have built businesses around TCN’s fibre optic assets and allows TCN to effectively deploy its fibre assets for SCADA and EMS,” said Fashola.