Damilola Shittu – Abuja
Nigeria supplies about 80 per cent of the total quantum of electricity consumed in the Republic of Benin but power is more stable in the neighbouring country than it is in Nigeria, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said.
Aside from the Republic of Benin, Nigeria, through the TCN, supplies power to the Republics of Niger and Chad, and the countries are classified as international customers in the Nigerian power sector.
On why some of these countries get stable electricity than their major supplier of power, the Managing Director, TCN, Usman Mohammed, explained that their electricity distribution networks were better, adding that power distributors in Nigeria should visit these countries to learn.
When asked if the countries managed their systems differently, Mohammed replied, “This is exactly what was raised in one of our meetings, where one of the Discos said power distributors should go to the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries to look at how the distribution networks in those places work.
“And I told them that they don’t need to go to the UK or South Africa. They (Discos) can go to Cotonou and they will see how a distribution network is built. They should go to Cotonou and look at their distribution network.”
He added, “In Nigeria, you know that we have what we call cross arm, where they (Discos) put woods between the wires on distribution lines. But you won’t see a single cross arm in the whole of Cotonou. You have a straight and good distribution network there.”
“Also, if you stay in Cotonou, you will discover that the only time there will be no supply is when there is a problem with the grid. And this is because their distribution has a straight network.”
He said Nigeria supplies almost all the power consumed in Cotonou, adding that the challenges with power distribution in Nigeria had made it difficult for consumers to enjoy stability in the power supply.
Mohammed went ahead to use the Benin Republic city as an instance and stated that “any time you go to Cotonou and you see that their power supply is stable, take it that it is the power we are generating that they are consuming and not from somewhere else.
“This is because more than 80 per cent of electricity in Cotonou and Benin generally comes from here. This is the situation and answer to your question.”
On what could be done, Mohammed said power distributors in Nigeria had to be recapitalised in order to make them have the capacity to meet the financial requirements in the sector.
He said the poor distribution network in Nigeria’s power sector often impacted the grid negatively and led to system collapse.
“We cannot have a stable grid unless we have an adequate investment on the distribution side and that is why we have been calling for a recapitalisation of the distribution companies.
They need to have a commensurate investment on the network,” the TCN boss stated.