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04.11.2013 Business & Finance

New investors take over Nigerian power firms

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Lagos, Nigeria, Nov. 4, GNA - The Government of Nigeria has handed over the management of 14 power generation and distribution firms of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to new investors and administrators.

Observers say the focus is now on the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which is saddled with the responsibility of delivering generated electricity to distributors for onward sale to consumers.

Manitoba Hydro International, the Canadian firm that manages the TCN for Nigerians, has given assurances that improvements will be seen within the earliest possible timeframe.

Nigeria's irregular power supply has been at the top of a list of issues that President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to address.

Beside the transfer of generation and distribution firms, the government said it had continued its programme of building power generating plants and rehabilitating existing plants that were dilapidated.

However, according to reports, Nigeria's electricity generation capacity declined from peak level of about 4,517.6 megawatts recorded as at December, 2012 to about 3,781.80 megawatts in October this year.

The current efforts of the government are in line with its Power Roadmap, which was launched in 2010. So far, the Nigerian government says it has invested about 3 billion dollars (approximately N480 billion) in the power sector to raise power supply to a reasonably stable level by the middle of 2014.

As the new owners take over, after missing the original handover date of August 21 when they completed payment for the firms, there are some concerns over the ability of the TCN to live up to expectation in certain areas of its envisaged functions as Market Operator (MO) and System Operator (SO), among others.

According to reports, Manitoba Hydro was offered a three-year management contract for TCN in September 2012 to work with an internal team and take control of the daily operations of the company.

The Canadian firm is expected to overhaul TCN to achieve technical and financial adequacy in addition to providing stable transmission of power without system failure. It is also expected that TCN will become a commercially viable and market-driven company capable of transmitting the maximum capacity of energy generated for distribution.


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