Although the generation and transmission strata of the power sector are privatised, they, together with the entire value chain in Nigeria, still enjoy as much as 3,000 megawatts intervention from Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) in the last 48 months, Adeola Yusuf reports
igeria suffered its first collapse of National Electricity Transmission System otherwise known as national grid on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
That day, the grid collapse, twice in two hours, raised the question about the state of power sector in the country and interventions from different quarters.
Though the demand for power is still more than the supply, millions of Nigerians, who daily enjoy some measure of power supply, are not aware of the tremendous efforts put in to ensure this from a quarter where it is least expected.
So much has been said about power generated but stranded and not reaching electricity consumers.
The National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) superintended by the NDPHC has over 3,000mw of generation capacity available for deployment to the national grid. However, much less is distributed.
Though the national energy demand is high and 100 per cent supply is yet to be met, some of the improvement in public power supply can be attributed to the activities of the reconstituted executive management team of the NDPHC.
The NDPHC has recently witnessed a high scale of successful activities using every available means to aid the generation, transmission and distribution of power supply on the principle of best services.
One of the first in a series of giant strides in the electricity power sector taken by this administration after its inauguration was the commissioning of a 330KV Switching Station built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) under the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) in Essien Udim, Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
The station commissioned at Ikot Ekpene was to reduce the amount of electricity stranded and unable to get to the national grid from power plants in the east.
The station now helps evacuate power from four power plants: Ibom Power, Calabar Power, Alaoji Power, and Afam Power through to Ugwuaji in Enugu and then Makurdi up to Jos. Calabar Power Plant has been running two units simultaneously for two years, with 1200MW evacuation line in place through Ikot Ekpene.
This feat was the first power flow along the eastern flank axis, which marked the beginning of the end of stranded power constraints in southern and eastern axis of the grid.
The gas challenge
When power plants were built but without providing them necessary gas, the issue of stranded power would arise. Most of the plants were ready to work, but fuel was lacking. Moreso, those with gas like the Ibom Power plant, Alaoji, Afam and Calabar, all having between them a combined capacity of 1,800mw but were delivering roughly 600 to 700mw. Power was still stranded.
The new Ikot Ekpene switching station was, therefore, so important because it is now evacuating power from Ibom Power, Calabar Power, Alaoji Power and from Afam. The station has also help boost power all the way to Uguaji and also support Makurdi, which had been experiencing low voltage problem. This strategic power project intervention early in the life of this administration helped release stranded power out to stabilise the national grid.
The Enugu-Ikot Ekpene 330KV NIPP transmission line power project had been stalled since 2010 because of various compensation claims by communities. Key sensitive materials of transmission towers and aluminum conductors had been stolen; there was outright hacking of fully mounted power grid towers and brazen encroachment on the electricity transmission line right-of-way (ROW). All these combined to stall the take-off of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company’s (NDPHC’s) Enugu – Ikot transmission line.
The project is a multi-billion naira eastern power transmission loop covering about 180 km from Enugu through Okigwe, Umuahia and Ikot Ekpene, meant to evacuate huge electricity generated from the Alaoji (Aba, Abia State), Afam (Port Harcourt, Rivers State) and Calabar (Cross River State) integrated power (NIPP) stations, before joining similar four circuit lines that come from Makurdi (Benue State).
The entire stretch of 180 km major electricity loop runs from New Haven in Enugu Town, Enugu State, down to Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State. Work on it had stalled.
There was also the lingering issue of compensation for the 330KVA Ikot-Ekpene-Ikot Abasi 330 KVA transmission line in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. Work had also been stalled. The residents of Ukpum Ete clan, comprising 12 villages had been protesting. The administration officials swung into diplomacy mode and these issues were resolved amicably to the national interest.
Right of Way (RoW) hurdles
A new Alaoji to Ikot Ekpene transmission line constructed under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) has, according to a document from the Vice President’s office, raised the national grid by over 1,300 megawatts (mw) of electricity when it was commissioned in October 2016.
The 330KV Direct Circuit (DC) transmission line links the 540mw Alaoji NIPP generation plant in Abia State, with the 563mw Calabar NIPP, other generating plants, as well as the mega switching station in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state,
This project has been enmeshed in hurdles of right of ways and other litigations for years. The issues were finally resolved and the line, which passes through Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Enugu states, widely called the North-South Loop, was commissioned.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State had before urged the completion of the line, which he said, would boost power supply to the state and spark off more industrial activities. The Enugu State Industrial Park project, a free trade zone in 9th Mile, could only be realised with this power project. Also, the university town of Nsukka, the water scheme projects all require power from this project.
Then newly appointed NDPHC’s Managing Director, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, checks by this newspaper showed, had sought for out-of-court settlement with the communities with support from the governors of Enugu and Akwa Ibom states to get the project completed.
Such has been the hands-on intervention works in the power sector by the NDPHC. There have been so much power projects completed and many others started under this administration. Various contractors have been mobilized to sites, right of way issues, payment of compensation so that communities can allow construction of transmission lines have been done.
The NDPHC has also been executing strategic power projects across the country. One for instance is at Okija, Ihiala, Nnewi. The line from Ihiala to Nnewi has been completed. There is also the building of the power tower and the stretching to the sub-station at Nnewi which is being built directly by TCN. The administration has also been so proactive. An ExxonMobil power plant and a number of other plants are also being conceived.
The NDPHC, the document showed, has in the last four years added huge MVA capacity to the national grid. Its overall contribution to the transmission and distribution infrastructural system is increasing daily just as it still majors on power generation.
Under the Buhari/Osinbajo administration mandate, the NDPHC has succeeded in building thousands of kilometers of transmission lines across the country; building thousands of kilometers of distribution lines and support substation; building gas pipelines that will supply gas to these power stations to realize generation targets.
It has further branched into solar energy with a pilot scheme in Abuja. It officially commenced a partnership with Azuri. This partnership flagged off at Wuna village in the FCT, Abuja and is a part of the Presidential Initiative on Rural Solar Home Lighting Systems. The NDPHC is also actively involved in the presidential initiative where at its beginning, 20,000 units of solar home systems were deployed in under-served rural areas with no access to the national grid.
It is trite that there is heavy dependence on the NIPP plants in bringing electricity supply to Nigerians. In grid instability, NIPP plants provide about 265MW of spinning reserves to facilitate grid responsiveness during disturbances on the transmission network. Spinning reserve is practiced all over the world. The NDPHC assets are the backbone of Nigeria’s power infrastructure.
“Based on its commitment for prompt action in the energy sector, the Buhari/Osinbajo administration provided the muscle for speedily success of the following,” another document from the NDPH read.
On the shortage of gas to the NIPP power stations in the Western Delta – Ogorode, Benin (Ihovbor), Omotosho and Olorunsogo, the administration’s intervention and resolution of the Niger Delta crises, the document read further, led to improvement in gas supply to the power stations in this western flank.
On the inadequate transmission capacity to evacuate power from the Eastern Delta plants, there was the quick completion of the 12 circuit 330KV Ikot-Ekpene switching station and the dual circuit 330kV transmission lines from both the Alaoji and Calabar power stations. There was also the completion of the first circuit (line 2) of the Ikot-Ekpene to Ugwuaji four circuit 330KV.
Magboro and its environs in Ogun state after 17 years of non-supply was in 2017 delivered electric power by the effort of the Chiedu Ugbo led NDPHC. Also, there was electricity power connection at Egbema and Okija communities in Imo and Anambra State respectively.
Recently completed projects include the 330kV Ikot Ekpene Switching Station; 330kV DC Alaoji – Ikot Ekpene Transmission Line; 330kV DC Calabar – Ikot Ekpene Transmission Line; 2x150MVA, 330/132kV & 2x60MVA, 132/33kV Gwagwalada SS; 330kV DC Gwagwalada – East Main Transmission Line; 132kV DC East Main – Kukwaba – Apo Transmission Line; 1x60MVA, 132/33kV Lokoja SS; 330kV DC Ajaokuta – Lokoja – Gwagwalada Transmissin Line; 1 x 300MVA, 330/132kV Alagbon SS; 1x300MVA, 330/132kV Lekki SS; 1 x 330kV DC Ikot Ekpene – Ugwaji Transmission Line (2)
Intervention in DisCos
Distribution projects totaling 296 have been completed plus 33/11kV distribution injection substations; 1,712 Km of 33kV lines ; 4,540 Km of 11kV lines; 24,996 completely self-protected transformers. A total of 3,970MVA injection substation capacity was added; 1,212MVA CSP transformation capacity was also added.
The need to strengthen the nation’s distribution assets saw the NDPHC intervening to deliver a number of 78 intervention projects. There were added over 544Km of 33kV lines; over 130Km of 11kV lines; 199 distribution transformers (100KVA, 200KVA, 300KVA, 500 KVA); 148MVA injection substation capacity was added; 108MVA distribution transformers capacity was added.
Other projects were completed in the distribution sector. They include the 1x15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Tambuwal, Sokoto State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kV, 1X7.5MVA Inj SS, Fegge, Anambra State; 1X7.5MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Potiskum, Yobe State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Gagi, Sokoto State; 1×7.5MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS. Otta, Ogun State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Angwan Dosa, Kaduna State; 2×7.5 MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Lamingo, Plateau State; and 2X15MVA, 33/11KV Inj SS, Zaria Rd, Jos.
The list also includes the construction of 33kV line from Oke Aro TS to Mowe SS; 2x15MVA, 33/11kv injection SS, Asaba, Delta State; 1×7.5 MVA, 33/11kV injection SS, Saminaka, Kaduna State; 1X7.5kVMVA, 33/11kV injection SS, Iloko, Osun State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Injection SS, Aminkanle, Lagos State; and the 1x15MVA, 33/11kv injection SS, Abule Taylor, Lagos State.
Others include the 1x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Elemoro, Lagos State; 1×7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Bauchi, Bauchi State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Farfaru, Sokoto State; 1×7.5MVA, 33/11kv injection SS, Water Works Gusua, Zamfara; 1×7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Otowhodo, Delta State; and the 1×7.5MVA, 33/11kv injection SS, Ibusa, Delta State.
Critical projects nearing completion
These are the Otta 132/33kV sub-station expansion project; Otta – Papalanto new 132kV DC line construction project; Papalanto 132/33kV sub-station expansion project; Papalanto – Old Abeokuta new 132kV DC line construction project; Old Abeokuta 132/33kV sub-station expansion project; Old Abeokuta – new Abeokuta 132kV DC line construction project; and the New Abeokuta 132/33kV sub-station construction project.
Others, according to the NDPHC document, are 330/132KV 1X150MVA transformer sub-station at Ihiala, including turn-in-turn-out of the existing Alaoji – Onitsha 330kV single circuit line at Ihiala; 330kV Ihiala – Nnewi DC line; 132/33kV Ihiala sub-station; Ihiala 132kV line bay sub-station extension works; Afam – Ikot Ekpene 330kV DC line construction; Ikot Abasi – Ikot Ekpene 330kV DC line construction; Ikot Abasi 3X150MVA, 330/132/33kV sub-station construction.
The load rejection and stranded power are fast becoming major issues that need quick fixes from the Federal Government if it wants its efforts in the power sector to be taken seriously. These, coupled with lack of gas and infrastructural challenges, are pulling back the sector.
NDPHC, for instance, has, from available record, over 3,000mw of generation capacity available for deployment to the national grid. However much less is distributed.