TCN and the Upgrade of Electricity Under Engr. Abdulaziz

TCN and the Upgrade of Electricity Under Engr. Abdulaziz

There is no gain saying in the fact that the level of energy demand and utilization in a country’s economy, is largely indicative of its degree of economic development in such a country, and it largely indicates its economic trajectory. 

In response to the increase in Nigeria’s demographic figures over the decades which is put at about 160 Million and the lack of commensurate increase in energy supply to meet the country’s growing economic and infrastructural development objective, the Federal Government of Nigeria realized that there was the need to break up defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) into small, effective units, as adequate and efficient electric power is a major factor in modern industrial development.

Therefore, to accelerate economic growth and development in the face of very poor grid power supply, the Federal Government of Nigeria concluded it was pertinent to substantially privatize the Nigerian electricity supply industry.This gave room for the privatization of the Nigerian electric power sector forged ahead with the signing of the Share Sale and Purchase Agreements and the Concession Agreements. Apart from the SSPA and the CA, other relevant transaction and industry documentation, for 15 out of the 18 companies hived off the Power Holding Company of Nigeria were signed at the Presidential Villa, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday 21st of February, 2013. By November 2013, the companies were handed over to the new owners/core investors and concessionaires.

The ownership of the transmission company, that is, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (“TCN”) was not handed over to the private sector. Rather, a Canadian Firm, Manitoba Hydro International (“Manitoba Hydro”), entered into a three (3) year management contract with the FGN to overhaul the transmission network. The management contractor, Manitoba Hydro, was expected to work towards the overall improvement of the Nigerian transmission infrastructure as much as possible.However, the unbundling of NEPA started when President Olusegun Obasanjo signed into law the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR Act) which led to the formation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) with a transitory framework in March, 2005. By this act, NEPA was unbundled into 18 companies: Six Generation Companies, One Transmission Company and Eleven Distribution Companies. All were issued Operations Licenses.On its part, TCN was on July 1st, 2006 issued a Transmission License with the responsibilities of wheeling power at high Voltage, operate the National Grid and Market Operation ServiceTCN is spread across the country with eight transmission regions in Lagos, Oshogbo, Kaduna, Bauchi, Shiroro, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Benin and a National Control Centre (NCC) at Oshogbo. There is also a Supplementary National Control Centre at Shiroro and three regional Control Centres at Benin, Lagos and Kaduna. The company has a staff strength of 4, 098 as at September 2013.Under the leadership of Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, the Ag.

Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, TCN has been performing exploits in the Electricity transmission sector.Though, like a Yoruba adage says, “the hen sweats, but the feathers conceal its sweats”, many of the giant strides in the sector are not too conspicuous. A heart-breaking instance is the abandonment of substation projects. Some are at an advanced stage of execution; these substations are a very important requirement in transmission, because when they are completed and energized, investors would invest more in the area, consequently boosting socio- economic activities in the area. Apart from this, other issues that would have to be dealt with, include dealing with some contractors’ request for variation which TCN is working on.Other identified issues are Right of Way, import clearance and contract variation and staff capacity which are hindrances to completion of some projects.Also, some installations have been disused for over ten years, which necessitates a thorough test run, to ascertain their level of health before progressing, while some cables have equally been vandalized.

Just recently, the Transmission Company of Nigeria successfully transmitted another all-time peak of 5,584.40MW recorded by the power sector on January 7th 2021, at 21:15hrs.This is 24 hours after the previous peak of 5,552.80MW was recorded on Wednesday January 6th, 2021 at 20:15hrs that was equally transmitted.According to a release by TCN, this latest all-time peak transmitted, surpasses the last peak generation of 5,552.80MW transmitted by TCN by 31.60MW.The management of TCN assured that it will continue to work hard to ensure efficient transmission of power generated on the nation’s electricity grid.The Professional ethics being enforced by Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, who was the Regional Transmission Manager for Abuja Region of TCN before his appointment as the Acting Managing Director of TCN, on 19th May, 2020, has seen the company recording new treads.Under his leadership, TCN has experienced some upgrades in its functions. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in December 2020 said it upgraded twelve (12) substations in twelve months.

It said this included commissioning of the new Gagarawa substation in Jigawa state with 120MVA capacity. This was contained in a presentation issued at a media parley addressed by the Acting Managing Director TCN, Mr. Sule Abdulaziz in Abuja.The upgraded substations are Ogba, Asaba, Etsako, Aja, Ilupeju, Apapa, Gusau, Egbin, Auchi, Iseyin, Rumosi and Kumbotso with a total of 876 MegaWatts added to the grid.Engr. Abdulaziz who holds a BSc Electrical and MSc Automation Engineering from The Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria is also a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Council for the Regulations of Engineering (COREN) and a Chartered Member of Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM). Engr. Abudulaziz has attended several local and international Engineering, Technical and Administrative courses.

The Company is committed to completion of all ongoing and abandoned projects.While stressing the need for a robust grid, Engr. Abdulaziz once said “our main function is to transmit electricity from generation to distribution and so we need to have a robust grid. So our priority is to ensure that all ongoing projects are completed.Since his appointment, Abdulaziz has ensured he inspects TCN’s disused transmission substation projects across the country. Some of these substations have been earmarked for urgent attention and completion by the Minister of Power Engr. Sale Mamman.Engr. Abdulaziz joined the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1996 as Manager, Electrical, and rose through the ranks to become the Senior Manager, Projects in the defunct Power Holding Company (PHCN) in charge of, and supervising various project sites nationwide.

In 2013, Engr. Abdulaziz was made the Assistant General Manager, Technical Audit in charge of valuation and vetting of all technical jobs executed by contractors among others.In 2014, he was moved back to the Projects department as the Assistant General Manager, Substation Projects, working as projects’ director for all TCN’s substations projects which includes general supervision, defining project parameters and ensuring compliance with specifications and timelines.As Assistant General Manager, Projects, he ensured the successful completion and energizing of various transmission substation projects including Kukwaba in Abuja, Maiduguri Substation in Borno, Odogunyan Substation in Lagos State and Okpella Substation in Edo State, among others.He assumed duty as the Acting MD on 20th May, 2020.Some projects have been abandoned for over 10years, this is why regular inspections are pertinent to enable the Company take appropriate actions.These substations are important parts of the nation’s transmission network needed to further boost grid capacity nationwide and more specifically increase bulk electricity supply in the country.