Why N16.6bn Power Surveillance Projects Failed To Improve Grid

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The Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed said three attempts for a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to monitor electricity grid have failed, with one project costing $46 million (about N16.586 billion).
SCADA system is a modern tool for real time data and voice exchange between remote power stations and the National Control Centre (NCC), experts have noted.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Trust, Mohammed said: “Nigeria has failed attempts to have a functional SCADA three times. The last one was between 2006 and 2007 when I was in the Project Management Unit (PMU) of TCN when World Bank financed it and Nigeria spent about $46 million. However, the SCADA had significant deficiency that it cannot see more than 40 per cent of the network.”
He said a committee was established to review the failed SCADA project along with the Power Grid of India among other experts.

“We also brought original SCADA equipment manufactures and all the experts of SCADA to scrutinise the report of the committee and the experts came up with their findings.
“It has become very clear from the SCADA experts reports that we cannot even start the procurement of SCADA until we fix our network communication backbone,” said Mohammed whose appointment was confirmed for a four year term in February 2018.

On how TCN would deliver a 20,000 megawatts (MW) transmission capacity in about four years, the TCN boss said the Transmission Rehabilitation Expansion Plan (TREP) launched in 2017 was transforming the public utility firm after it was plunged by a four year contract management under Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Ltd (MHINL).

He said, “Since we came in February 2017, we inherited a TCN which was managed by Manitoba Hydro Company. For four years, what Nigeria paid Manitoba hydro for the contract was $23m plus. But Manitoba Hydro mismanaged TCN to the extent that the company was at the point of total collapse, so we had to come up with a programme on how to move TCN forward.”

To save the national grid for frequent system collapse, Mohammed said the Nigeria Electricity and Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved that TCN procures 300MW spinning reserve which will be raised to 450MW gradually to meet the 10 per cent requirement for a 4,500MW national grid.

He said TCN under his leadership has raised $1.7bn from multilateral donors for the expansion of the grid from which it has installed 29 transformers between 2017 and July 2018. More projects are underway to expand the grid to 20,000MW by 2021, Mohammed noted.

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