NERC Bars TCN from Dealing with Unlicensed Eligible Customers

* National power grid restored after collapse

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has warned the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) against dealing with unlicensed individuals and business concerns on the eligible customer basis.

Speaking during the “Power Dialogue” for July, organised by the “Electricity Hub”, Vice Chairman, NERC, Dr. Musiliu Oseni, explained that the TCN could not continue to deal directly with the so-called eligible customers when they had not met the requirements for eligibility.

In a related development, TCN said yesterday that it had restored the national electricity grid after a total system collapse that occurred Wednesday afternoon. TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs Ndidi Mbah, said in a statement in Abuja that power was fully restored at 4:59 pm on July 28, after the grid collapse triggered by a sudden drop in system frequency to 47.21Hz.

The eligible customer regulation was developed by NERC to facilitate competition and access to electricity supply for unserved or underserved high-end users in Nigeria. Introduced in 2017, it specifies the classes of end-use customers that will be able to directly purchase electricity from licensees other than the sole incumbent distribution licensees, the Distribution Companies (Discos).

NERC said TCN should deal with only those who had fulfilled the eligibility conditions.
Oseni said, “What we have had so far is that there are some of the transactions that are already being recognised as eligible customer transactions by the TCN without the commission’s approval. That was why the commission said, stop recognising them as eligible customers, not that the commission said, stop supplying them, because we said let the billing be done the way it was being done prior to that recognition, when the commission had not issued the permits.”

He stated that currently NERC had only approved one eligible customer, which is Phoenix in Ogun State, explaining that all the remaining eligible customers recognised by the TCN have not secured approval. While stressing that the rules must be followed strictly, he noted that if NERC had not conferred eligibility, any entity doing that was operating illegally. He said the commission had been fair to all parties.

Oseni further stated that NERC was in the process of approving self-reporting apps being developed by vendors that would be able to confirm the number of hours of electricity received by customers.

Meanwhile, giving details of the power situation, Mbah said in the statement that reports available to TCN showed that about 12:20 pm, two generating units tripped in one generating station while four equally tripped in another generating station, causing a loss of 261MW and 350MW, respectively, bringing the total loss of electricity on the grid to 611MW.

“It is suspected that the sudden loss of 611MW from the grid caused system instability and its eventual collapse,” the TCN spokesperson explained.
After the collapse, the company said its system operators immediately commenced the restoration of the grid and by 12:46 pm, power supply in Abuja was fully restored from Shiroro generating station.

“At 1:05 pm, TCN equally commenced grid restoration from the Delta Power Station, and at 4:59 pm, a full restoration of the entire grid was achieved,” the statement said.
While appreciating the government, electricity customers nationwide, and its international customers for their patience, TCN noted that it would continue to work hard to expand and maintain the stability of the national grid.

Nigeria’s fragile national power grid had collapsed on Wednesday, leaving parts of the country without power supply from the system controlled from Osogbo by the wholly federal government-owned TCN.

Industry players insist that a spinning reserve, which is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages remains the immediate solution to the incessant grid collapses.

During the latest incident, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) told its customers that it only got about five per cent of its daily supply of 400MW, which it put at 20MW.
“At the moment, only 20MW has been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that we have been receiving in recent times,” AEDC stated.


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