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Digital Economy: TCN deploys new technology to improve national grid operations

*The Transmission Company of Nigeria reveals the company has deployed a high-technology solution called the Internet of Things and Virtual Private Network to further improve the robustness of the Nigerian electricity grid to improve supply to consumers

Isola Moses ConsumerConnect

Following the recent nationwide blackouts resulting from gas supply shortage, and the need to improve electricity generation, distribution and supply chain on the national grid to consumers, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says the company has deployed a  high technology scheme as a stop-gap solution called Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Private Network (VPN).

ConsumerConnect reports Malam Yusuf Bako, Lead, Advocacy Team, Nigerian Power Consumers Forum, in a statement issued  Thursday, August 18, 202, in Abuja, FCT, said the TCN disclosed this development in a forum with the group.

Malam Bako noted that the technology is for real-time grid operations and management to National Control Centre (NCC), in Osogbo, Osun State capital.

The technology will  improve real-time operations of the national grid, pending the deployment of a long-term network automation system, he stated.

The TCN official also stated Mr. Sule Abdulaziz, Managing Director of TCN,   has described the feat as a quantum leap.

Abdulaziz observed the deployment of the technology is coming at a time when M. Abubakar Aliyu, Honourable Minister for Power, has tasked agencies on innovative ways to improve electricity supply to Nigerian consumers.

The statement further said: “Thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Power that the Nigerian power sector is steadily receiving historic attention with a quantum of investments that would redefine the sector for the best.

“We have gone far  with the procurement of new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)/Energy Management System (EMS)schemes but we felt as a responsible company that are waiting for the new SCADA, we can deploy a stop-gap technology.

”Which we have understudied in other countries to be very efficient in boosting real-time electricity grid monitoring.”

Abdulaziz as well said with the improved collaboration of other players in the electricity value chain, the company had been able to reduce the frequent cases of system national grid collapse.

He stated that the technology was deployed through real time monitoring of operations at the various power transmission substations nationwide, and live interaction with operators at the power plants and Distribution Companies injection substations.

Deployment of new technology with NCCs in Abuja, Osogbo

TCN also said that the company is  building two new National Control Centres in Abuja and Osogbo, said Abdulaziz.

According to him, control centres will further improve the robustness of the Nigerian electricity grid.

The TCN Chief noted the National Control Centre and other technology systems will improve the stability of the national grid in the country.

He said: “The government is doing a lot to improve the power sector and that is why we always encourage Nigerians to support us by helping to guard critical national infrastructure.

“We believe that as more of the investments and our transmission expansion projects materialise, Nigerians will experience more improved electricity supply.

“This is the goal of TCN and I strongly believe that we are not resting on our oars to deliver on this mandate.”

Abdulaziz, who doubles as Chairman, Executive Board of WAPP, further stated: “This preparation is coming at a time when Nigerian power operators are gearing up to take part in electricity export as soon as the Regional Electricity Market (REM) of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) is launched.”

Through TCN, Nigeria has been exporting electricity to Niger, Benin and Togo under a country-to-country arrangement, he noted.

The regional market, he added, will further enable GenCos to export power to more West African countries which will be evacuated by TCN transmission infrastructure.

With the exportation of power, the Federal Government could earn more foreign exchange from that for national development comment on the TCN’s remapping of its investments in the power sector.

Balarabe Abdullahi, General Manager at NCC, said that with the stop gap solution, TCN can now access some stations and substations that were not captured in the last SCADA World Bank Project of 2004 on real time.

Abdullahi also stated: “Today, with TCN’s stop-gap solution the grid operators can monitor a wider part of the grid. This is making grid operations and management a lot easier.”

In his contribution, Mr. Micheal Okoh, Convener of the Nigerian Power Consumers’ Forum (NPCF), said only such critical power transmission grid investments, backed by a matching strength at the DisCos’ end could bring succour to power consumers.

In analysing the feat, Okoh noted that stop-gap solution has been existing in some countries such as Benin Republic, and that it is better than late for Nigeria.

He said: “This has been long overdue, because if the grid or system operator does not have comprehensive operational data of the entire power grid, it is difficult to manage the fast-growing system.

“The existing inadequate SCADA System cannot provide adequate grid visibility and we know that the SCADA system is not yet ready.”

The consumer advocate stated: “I commend the management of TCN led by Abdulaziz for this innovative move.

“It shows that the current crop of TCN managers is actually thinking well to improve services.”

Okoh the 11 DisCos and other actors in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to take similar actions that have collective impacts on the national grid.

What consumers need is adequate power supply and they will pay the right tariff, he declared.

”We also call on the DisCos to match this technology,  so that faults can easily be cleared and service delivery optimised,” Okoh added.

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