President Muhammadu Buhari has approved and given his support for the unbundling of the Transmission Company of Nigeria,(TCN), the Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar, has said.

 After the power sector was privatised in 2013 and the successor generation and distribution companies handed over to private investors, the TCN was left under the ownership and management of the Federal Government.

The TCN has remained so since then, although operating under some strategic departments, among which include two key components known as the Transmission Service Provider and the System Operator.

Industry experts and operators in other arms of the power value chain had often called for the unbundling of the transmission company into its two key entities, as the calls became loud following the incessant collapse of the national power grid under the management of TCN.

Responding to a question pertaining to calls for the unbundling of TCN at the Nextier Power Dialogue in Abuja on Tuesday night, the power minister stated that the process had reached an advanced stage.

Abubakar also told participants at the dialogue that Buhari was supporting the unbundling of the transmission company, adding that recommendations would be made by the office of the power minister soon.

He said:“We are working on that and we have gone very far. In fact, as I speak with you now I have some documents which were brought to me in that regard this afternoon. I’ve not gone through them because I had to prepare for this meeting.

“But as soon as I leave here I will look at them. Very soon we will separate the two certificates to unbundle the TCN into the two entities. And as we go along we will further unbundle to probably make them three.

“But for this one, we have gone very far with it and I don’t want to preempt what was brought to me in terms of recommendation. However, very soon we will do that. We have got the support of Mr. President to that effect.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has set July 1 for electricity generating companies to attain 5000 megawatts of power generation.

The Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba, told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the entire value chain of the power sector, comprising Gencos, Distributing companies, and the Transmission Company of Nigeria have committed to signing a contract to deliver 5000MW of electricity to power consumers.

He said: “This is the first time this kind of contract among all parties will take place. In the past, there have been complaints of lack of gas from generation companies, Discos complain of unpaid tariffs, and then the TCN would say also they transmit whatever they get.

“But now, the entire value chain has committed to signing contracts to meet up with the power needs of electricity consumers. GenCos will sign contracts with gas producers to buy gas to produce. We have also involved gas suppliers who are committed to making gas available.

“Under the contract, DisCOs are not allowed to buy less than 5000MW, and TCN has also said they have the capacity to transmit at least 5000 megawatts. So this time around, there will not be a flop by any party.”

Garba said the DisCos would this time commit to making funds available for GenCos to pay for gas.

On measures put in place to ensure compliance, Garba said there would be stringent penalties for non-compliance.

“There will be consequences. Whoever does not meet up with their part of the contracts will be fined,” he said.

The NERC chairman added that the proposed contracts already have the support of the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He listed major reasons for the recent grid collapses as vandalism of gas pipelines, and attacks on transmission towers by vandals.

On what the commission is further doing to stabilise the power grid, he said the Federal government was planning to invest in the national grid through capital expenditure to ensure stability.

The nation’s power grid is currently witnessing outages which have led to several collapses, and power generation dropping as low as 9MW.

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