The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday ordered the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to end their war of words over responsibility for poor power supply to Abuja customers.
Trouble between the companies started on Sunday when the TCN called for the recapitalization of Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria, in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah.
TCN blamed lack of investment for the poor distribution network in the country which has led to poor power supply to consumers.
The company specifically called out AEDC for dropping loads of electricity during a rainfall in Abuja Sunday evening.
In the document uploaded on Twitter, TCN stated: “As at 19:00 hours on April 25, 2020, due to rainfall, Abuja dropped load and was off taking only 0.5MW and 16MW from TCN’s 330kV Substations in Katampe and Gwagwalada, respectively.
“Precisely at 17:00Hours load in Katampe Substation was 288.0MW, at 18:00 Hours, the load dropped to 174MW then at 18.30 it dropped to as low as 9.9MW, at 19:00 hours, this further reduced to 0.5MW. The load offtake by AEDC then increased to 33.2MW at 20:39hours.
“All AEDC 3kV feeders were out due to poor distribution network. This will certainly create high voltage that may damage TCN terminal equipment. This kind of situation will be more dangerous if the rain falls in most parts of Nigeria.
“TCN management is seriously disturbed because if nothing is done quickly to capitalize the DisCos, the power sector will completely collapse.”
But AEDC fired back, saying that the problem was the inability of TCN to install protective equipment in its substations. It pointed out that the TCN remained the weakest link in power supply chain and asked it to up its game.
Obviously unimpressed by the exchanges, NERC frowned at “the unnecessary exchange of technical opinions and blame trading in the public space between the Transmission Company of Nigeria Plc (TCN) and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc on matters that border essentially on power system operation and outage management”.
It said it “considers such discourse in the arena of public opinion as serving no useful purpose towards improving quality of service to the teeming electricity consumers and the Nigerian economy in general”.
NERC said it was concerned that “capitalisation of network utilities, an issue bordering on government policy and regulatory direction are now the subject of campaign on various social media platforms at a time when the relevant agencies charged with the subject matter are working assiduously towards getting the market fundamentals right for securing both debt and equity.
“The Commission has commenced an investigation into the recurring protection and relay coordination challenges between TCN and all DisCos for an independent assessment of the situation so as to ensure a lasting solution to issues militating against a sustained improvement in quality of service and reliability of supply.
“In this regard, the Commission has scheduled a meeting with TCN and AEDC at the Commission’s Hearing Room on Thursday April 30, 2020 at 10:00am on the matter.
“The Commission shall schedule further meetings with the other DisCos to address similar issues following which an appropriate regulatory instrument shall be issued providing general direction in NESI on system protection and other related matters.
“The Commission hereby directs all licensees to stop forthwith any such public display of indiscretion on operational matters in the electricity industry.
“Furthermore, all licensees are hereby reminded to apprise themselves of the dispute resolution procedure and processes provided in the Market Rules governing the operation of the industry”, the Commission concluded.