By Bimbola Oyesola
WORRIED by the dwindling performance of the electricity sector and the need to improve the efficiency in power transmission in the country, electricity workers under the umbrella of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), have canvassed two additional options for the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to enhance its operational effectiveness.
In the last four years, TCN has been under Manitoba Hydro International (MHI), a foreign management company. Although its contract has since expired, it still got one-year extension from government, last year.
The union at the weekend, suggested a re-composition of MHI counterpart management team and injection of new technocrats from the sector into areas that require strengthening.
SSAEAC also suggested that MHI and Nigerian counterparts should form a new structure.
In the third option, the union suggested that MHI functions as advisers to the Nigerian Management team.
It also called on government to revise the cost component of MHI contract and ensure an upward review of the remuneration of Nigerian management team.
In a memo it forwarded to the Presidency recently, SSAEAC had called for outright transfer of management of TCN to a reconstituted Nigerian management team.
Its position was premised on alleged poor performance of the foreign management contractor; perception of wastages of resources due to non-performance; lack of clear key performance indicators and lack of appreciable change in operational challenges from commencement of contract (system collapses, poor funding, process bottlenecks, etc.).
The President General of the union, Chris Okonkwo, said that the union was giving the additional options in view of the possible misrepresentation of the first and preferred position of SSAEAC, which is now offering more options to widen government’ choice in taking informed decision on TCN.
Okonkwo said: “One option is to have TCN HQ structure collapsed to have one MD/CEO (no. MD TSP, MD ISO) with the following structure: MD/CEO, ED (Tech. Service), ED (Market Operations), ED (System Operations), ED (Human Resources) and ED (Finance and Accounts) – General Managers and AGMs will fall under the EDs except for those to report to the MD/CEO.
“The present structure of TCN with MD/CEO TCN, MD TSP and MD ISO may also be used. However, it could be suspended to achieve some measure of targets by compressing it as suggested above, without loss of positions.
He listed the problems impeding the growth of TCN to include, poor budgetary funding for completion of a ring grid by constructing/completing critical lines to stem system fragility; poor tariff for wheeling of electricity ; NERC’s indisposition to good tariff for TCN using same considerations for GenCos and DisCos; one-sided orders against TCN in favour of other stakeholders by NERC for instance; TCN surcharge for low energy delivery without corresponding sanction for GenCos for low generation and DisCos for rejecting loads and surcharge of higher Transmission Loss Factor (TLF) without corresponding reward for TLF below benchmark of 8.05per cent.
Others include non intervention of CBN to cover TCN underpayments in the market for services rendered; poor collection by DisCos and low payment to TCN from the market purse and poor salaries and remuneration for TCN staff in line with industry reality to reduce/stop loss of skilled workers.
On the need to improve the performance of Discos, Okonkwo said, “government should renegotiate or review the operating contracts to remove power availability factor or clause to encourage total energy accountability – every amount of energy received must be paid for without excuses, otherwise, the sector will never takeoff in the direction of growth with so- called guaranteed or adequate power level.”
“There is need for strong proportional representation of government in all DisCo Boards to protect the remaining 40 per cent stake, including restoration of Escrow accounts to check abuses of under remittances since discretion can never give objective results.
Others include auditing of DisCos accounts vis-à-vis energy received and amounts remitted, to ascertain real financial standing of each DisCo.”
On the GENCOS, the union leader called for a technical audit of all Gencos to ascertain real capacities vis-à-vis values at takeover and declared values today.
“Government should ascertain whether there has been additional capacities and of what value, establish deviations between pre-October 2013 and today and install remote capability to know capacity at any time – no reliance on declarations by the GenCos,” he said