By Joseph BAIDELE
ABUJA – As a move to enhance a peaceful take-over and management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, following the crises which broke out in the nation’s power sector after the take-over of TCN by Manitoba Hydro International , the new CEO of the company, Don Priestman has said that the new management will work closely with the legal TCN staff, particularly during the transitional month to ensure a seamless takeover from legal management.
He said this at a familiarization meeting convened by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission at its headquarters in Abuja. He was accompanied by other senior management staff TCN.
According to him, the new management’s experience and technological wherewithal will be brought to bear in the management of the TCN, adding that the company expects to work with skilled legacy staff to deliver an efficient transmission system for the country.
He said, “We are assuring the staff of TCN that we are committed to the growth and development of the company, using the most modern technology to bring the vision of government towards efficient power transmission to millions of Nigerians.
“Our experience over many years in power systems management would certainly come to bear on the management of TCN, and we are more than ready to keep the promises we made on expanding power transmission infrastructure to provide Nigerians with more reliable power.”
Mr. Priestman, meanwhile, presented a diagnostic of TCN, focusing on the inherent manpower levels and skills gap deficit and succession planning.
He also presented a proposal for steps that should be taken towards full TCN unbundling and ring fencing of Transmission Service Provider (TSP), System Operator (SO) and Market Operator (MO) functions by way of sufficient sustainable TCN revenues and capital budget approvals, staff training, skills development and succession planning and strong enforcement of Market Rules by NERC, to name a few.
The Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005 requires that TCN be made up of two entities namely System Operations and the Transmission system Provider. Market Operations which is domiciled in System Operations, is also to be ring fenced. Ring fencing refers to separation that translates to financial and operational autonomy. It is believed that the separation of these entities will lead to reduction of bureaucracy and ultimately, enhanced efficiency.
Dr. Sam Amadi – Chairman/CEO of NERC informed Mr. Priestman and his team that the Commission wanted to see an efficient transmission system, and has promised to work closely with TCN to realize this.
Manitoba Hydro International, a company won the contract on April 3 through a bidding process conducted by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). They assumed operational control of the company on 30th July, 2012.
The TCN is one of the companies scheduled for Management Contract deal to transit it into a financially sustainable, self-sufficient and market-driven player in the power sector.
Manitoba, which is the electric power and natural gas utility in the province of Manitoba, Canada currently operate 15 interconnected generating stations and has more than 572,000 electric power customers and over 263,000 natural gas customers. Its world-class technical and organizational capabilities have enabled it to perform power sector works in over 60 countries.
Within Manitoba Hydro’s system, there exists a total of 9,089 km of transmission lines throughout the province of Manitoba, spread across a wide variety of physical terrain, including swamps, permafrost and bedrock.
TCN is one of the eighteen successor companies carved out of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN.) It combines the functions of a transmission services provider, a system operator and a market operator, all of which are central to the sustainability and development of the electricity sector.
Following unbundling, TCN emerged as one of the successor companies of PHCN and was scheduled for a Management Contract in order to transit the company into a financially sustainable, stable, self-sufficient and market-driven company.