The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and under the able leadership of Engr. Dr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz has another exciting vision of a Nigeria which the over 200 million Nigerians yearn for.
A Nigeria with adequate power supply for industries to thrive, small businesses can grow, support modern agriculture and idealise the capital city Abuja. That is what TCN hopes to achieve in the capital city by enhancing the bulk power transmission capacity by 624 megawatts (MW) to address a 20-year energy demand index in Abuja.
The Abuja Feeding Scheme is a vision that is no longer on paper but has its footprints practically at five major sites within Abuja. The project which was flagged off in 2018 gained acceleration under the leadership of Engr. Abdulaziz, with key components to be ready this year.
Engr. Abdulaziz has brought his over 25 years of engineering experience and responsibility as a tested project manager to bear in project initiation and execution in the company, with a penchant for timely delivery of projects, said the leadership of the Nigerian Power Consumers Forum (NPCF).
According to a communique issued by NPCF earlier this week, after the forum visited some of the project sites in Abuja, the projects and initiatives that TCN has been delivering under the current management are significantly transforming the power utility firm from a faltering successor company in the post-privatization era to a viable national and sub-regional transmission company.
From transmission projects to transmission network operations and maintenance, the company has done very well. The Abuja transmission project has been one of the numerous projects that has received wide commendations from electricity consumers, especially as it scaled multiple hurdles that led to its funding support by the French Development Agency, AFD.
According to a project status report the forum cited, the implementation of the project is ongoing, set for completion and commissioning by the year end. Around the almost completed 132 kilovolts Dawaki Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) near Gwarinpa, the investment in the project is already visible.
The project is just one of the five ongoing substations under the AFD-funded Abuja Feeding Scheme, comprising a 330kV substation, four 132kV substations and their transmission lines, as well as a 330kV transmission line from Lafia to Abuja.
Early this year, the AFD officials during an on-the-spot assessment of the projects in the company of newsmen, commended TCN for the prompt execution of the projects. The project site assessment exercise by the AFD team is part of its first mission visit for 2022, aimed at monitoring and providing timely intervention that would ensure a timely actualization of the projects.
According to the report signed by the Lead Advocacy Team of NPCF, Malam Bako Yusuf, officials of the Project Management Unit (PMU) informed the forum that, upon operation, the facilities will expand the transmission wheeling capacity in Abuja, such that the Nigerian capital city will not experience power transmission constraints in the next 20 years.
The AFD team led by the AFD Country Director, Mr Xavia Murou was quoted to have said during an inspection visit, that the 2x60MVA 132/33kV Gwarimpa Gas Insulated Substation (GIS), was well executed.
In his words, “We are very impressed with progress made in executing the project because we know it has taken a lot of time to start up, but now, we can see a lot of work going on. Hopefully, very soon, communities will start benefiting from it and that is exactly what we are aiming for. Being closer to achievement, it is important for us to make sure that the project continues seamlessly.”
Also speaking during an inspection was the AFD Energy Project Manager, Anne-Sophie Rakoutz, who lauded TCN for the progress made so far, saying that, “It is great to see the projects being built up and almost being completed. TCN is doing a very good job, given the fact that this kind of job is quite complex. Also, the engineers have reported that this project will clearly reinforce the stability of the grid and contribute to reducing technical losses.”
The AFD official thanked the TCN management officials for their active participation and persistence, noting that TCN has been a strong partner of AFD in the last few years.
The inspection team also visited the 2x150MVA 132/33kV Lugbe West Main Transmission Substation to assess the level of project execution. There, the equipment for the substation was already on ground and the civil works were progressing.
TCN is also building another 132/33kV substation in Kuje which will have 2x60MVA power transformers along with the transmission line. According to the project brief, on completion, the Kuje Substation will boost bulk power supply to distribution load demand centres at the Kuje Area Council, where more public, commercial and residential buildings are fast rising.
Another fast-developing district in Abuja is the Lokogoma/Wumba axis where home developers estimated over 1,000 homes across the sprawling estates. Evidently, that section of Abuja is yearning for more electricity demand; but the good news is that TCN through its System Planning Department, factored that into the Abuja Feeding Scheme, said Mal. Bako of NPCF.
Malam Bako, who said he requested and was granted access to some of the project sites, noted that with the 2x60MVA 132/33kV Wumba transmission substation being built in between the already existing 132/33kV Apo substation and the 132/33kV Kukwaba substation, residents of Lokogoma and Wumba would see the evidence of the massive power investments by the federal government, once that substation becomes operational.
One more strength of the Abuja transmission project is exemplified with the 330/132kV New Apo transmission substation which will have 2x150MVA power transformers on the 330kV side and 3x60MVA power transformers on the 132kV section. This facility has already been nicknamed the “mother substation” by the engineers on site during one of my visits to the site. Asked why they would name it that way, one of the officials said because the 330/132kV substation provides the third source of bulk power supply to Abuja and would serve the Apo, Kukwaba, the Lokogoma, the Lugbe and the Kuje substations all at once.
The New Apo substation is getting a 330kV transmission line from Lafia on the Ikot Ekpene-New Haven-Makurdi-Lafia-Jos transmission line; the Lafia substation was recently commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari and as of today, residents of Lafia boldly lay claim to improved power supply. So, on completion, the 330kV New Apo substation will complement the 330/132kV Katampe substation which has the 330kV Shiroro-Katampe transmission line, and the 330/132kV Gwagwalada substation which has the 330kV Geregu-Gwagwalada transmission line.
Also, in an interaction with the TCN-AFD Project Manager, Engr. Jane Okemini, the NPCF leadership lauded TCN Management for the prompt intervention in clearing the project equipment from at the ports. Engr. Okemini further said that the projects were on track and that work was progressing in line with the new completion date of this year’s end.
Mal. Bako said: “With the completion of the Abuja Ring Fence Transmission Project, we believe in the project implementation report, that the transmission capacity in the Abuja axis will always be ahead of load demand in Abuja for a very long time. The Abuja Feeding Scheme is a green-field project which refers to a brand-new project that is being executed from scratch, and is being wholly funded by the AFD. This is the kind of project that Nigerian electricity consumers are yearning for and we cannot see the impact of the project.
“We have been also reliably informed that the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution company (AEDC) was right there when the project was flagged off, that means they are also planning similar investments so that they can be able to evacuate the electricity from these new substations when they are ready beginning from this year end,” explained the NPCF advocacy lead, Mal. Bako.