May 19, 2024
How TCN lost Billions of Naira due to vandalism in Nigeria’s Power Sector
How TCN lost Billions of Naira due to vandalism in Nigeria’s Power Sector
– By Alison_Godswill

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How TCN lost Billions of Naira due to vandalism in Nigeria’s Power Sector

By ENGR. ABUBAKAR ALIYU

I would like to extend my appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, for the invitation to participate in this Town Hall Meeting aimed at addressing the vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure. This meeting could not have come at a better time than now when the destruction of power and telecommunications infrastructure is at an all-time high. I consider this forum very important, not just for stakeholders, but for the generality of Nigerians who are the ultimate beneficiaries of services from these assets.

It is key that the general public especially host communities understand their role in the protection of our collective assets, and what they can do to help preserve these assets. It is when they have this understanding and see themselves as part-owners of these assets, that they will be truly committed to partnering with the government to bring about the reduction or even the complete elimination of vandalism.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we all know, information is power, it is my firm belief that the more people understand an issue, they are more prone to taking steps to curb this menace. This is therefore a good platform to discuss this challenge which has been causing a lot of hardship not only to the good people of Borno State but to the nation at large. This is a national embarrassment, and we must all work together to find solutions to the lingering problem.

A solution must be found against the backdrop of the deliberate effort by the present administration to ensure the provision of adequate infrastructure in addition to rehabilitating existing ones for more robust national development.

In the power sector, vandalism has become a recurring challenge, and efforts to expand and make the nation’s grid more robust are threatened often by unpatriotic citizens, and as such, the budget for the rehabilitation and expansion of the nation’s power sector has to be constantly plowed into the repair and restoration of vandalized aspects of the grid.

The efforts of the Buhari administration in ensuring that every citizen of this great country has access to a steady and reliable electricity supply are being truncated by criminals and some unpatriotic citizens.

On the Maiduguri axis, for instance, it has been an uphill task for TCN and the distribution companies to ensure consistent bulk transmission of power through Damaturu – Maiduguri, and Damboa – Maiduguri 330kV and 132kV transmission lines respectively and whenever TCN is unable to transmit bulk electricity through these lines due to vandalism by insurgents, the Distribution company, on the other hand, would equally be unable to distribute electricity to consumers of electricity.

You are all aware, Your Excellencies and distinguished participants at this Town Hall meeting, of several incidents by these vandals (insurgents) that have continued to cut electricity supply to the Maiduguri axis and TCN’s efforts to reconnect supply at the risk of the lives of TCN Engineers. These efforts have equally constituted a huge drain on our revenue and funds meant for grid expansion and have adversely affected the socio-economic lives of the people.

In one month TCN is losing an average of N130 Million on the wheeling charges and energy lost to Maiduguri and environs- This means that between 26th January 2021 to date (about 9 months), the total revenue lost on this line at an average of 840MWH/day is about N1.17 Billion.

In terms of cost of replacement and restoration of damaged 330kV towers/other accessories on the Damaturu-Maiduguri 330kV SC line, a total number of Eight (8) 330kV Towers has been brought down by insurgence between January 2021 to date and the average cost of reconstructing each tower is about N110 Million, which translates to about N880 Million. Please note that five towers were successfully erected and stringing completed on the 17th of September awaiting energization before the insurgents brought down another two sets of towers (T193 and T194) and Auno Village the next day, 18th September, 2021.

One other major challenge which cannot be quantified in terms of cost is the cost of living and the safety of TCN staff who despite the enormous risk associated with working in these troubled areas, kept on putting their lives on the line to ensure that we restore electricity supply to Maiduguri and other parts of the northeast affected by this nefarious act by the Insurgence. Some of them have in the cause of this service to the Nation lost their lives while others sustained life-threatening injuries.

Please note that this attack on TCN infrastructures in the North East dates back to July 2015 when tower T 122 at Birninshek Village was brought down by the insurgents, this took about 6 months to re-erect causing huge revenue loss to TCN and the Power sector in general as Supply to YOLA Electricity Distribution Company was interrupted.

On the 132kV Biu – Damboa line, the insurgents have been destroying this line at different locations and times from August 2018 to November 2020 forcing TCN to declare Force Majeure for unavailability of the line to supply Yola DISCO. The average monthly revenue loss at a minimum of 15MW is N55 Million.

Sir, you can imagine their effect on the entire economy.

Despite this, we have remained resolute in our effort to find ways of ensuring power supply to the good people of Maiduguri and the nation at large, and to effectively achieve this, every citizen of Nigeria must in one way or another contribute to this fight.

At this juncture, I wish to appreciate President Buhari’s administration for its untiring effort to fix the Nigerian Power sector and support the national grid expansion and system stability through the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI).

My profound appreciation goes to the Executive Governor of Borno State for his untiring effort in providing security and logistics to our engineers whenever the lines are vandalized. To the engineers that have constantly put their lives on the line when they go into the forests to repair vandalized equipment, I commend your tenacity.

The Ministry of Power in its supervisory and oversight role has created the enabling environment for operators in the sector to operate efficiently and will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in this regard.

Lastly, I wish to thank the Ministry of Information & Culture for bringing to the fore for national discourse the perennial issue of vandalism of electricity assets and telecoms facilities which are critical to national infrastructural development. The invitation to our Ministry to participate at this forum has provided us the opportunity to jointly deliberate and proffer solutions to the national headache of Vandalism of Power and Telecommunication infrastructure and consequently improve the supply of electricity for the economic development of our country.

After deliberations, we agreed that the Government pursues the option of executing embedded generation such as the proposed NNPC 50MW gas power plant, solar farm, wind farm, and the restoration of the 33KV line from Damaturu to Maiduguri as an alternative source of power to Maiduguri.

Also very key is our appeal to the Gentlemen of the Press to stop publicizing these incidents in true service to the nation. Any other ideas this forum may proffer are highly welcome as this is our collective fight to curb vandalism of any form and save our grid.

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