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How TCN Stabilized The Transmission System From Frequent Collapses



Acting Managing Director TCN, Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz


System collapses in power transmission occur in virtually every country at one time or the other, almost unpredictable given certain compelling unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Therefore, when it occurs, ought not be a source of worry since it is a technical misnomer which can best be identified and rectified within a limited timeframe depending on the technical competencies of the management and Engineers at site.

As against the immediate past, before the inception of the present administration of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the nation passed through nightmares occasioned by rampant system collapses which often times, lasted from one to two days in an instance. But in the last eight months, the nation had almost forgotten that there was troubled times of frequent system collapses.

No doubt, this was made possible by painstaking diagnose of issues in TCN on assumption of office barely eight months ago by the Acting Managing Director, Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, whose appointment can best be described as round peg in a round hole.

Shortly on assumption of office, he had assured that he planned to take TCN to a higher level. And living up to this assurance however, he added that even though in every country there is bound to occur system collapse, “We are guarding the grid and we don’t want system collapse to happen. But it do happen and the most important thing is when it happen, what did you do, how did you resolve the system, what measures did you take? This is the most important thing.”

Since then, except for the system collapse nationwide which occurred on November 11, 2020 at about 11:25 am, there has been appreciable level of transmission system stability in the past eight months. The last system collapse due to multiple trippings affected the nation’s electricity grid nationwide.

But then, no sooner it occurred than the Engineers swung into action to the extent that in less than an hour power was successfully restored to every part of the country. This was achieved not without taking some pre-emptive measures ahead of the incident by the top management working in concert with the staff assigned in various locations in the country.

Engr. Abdulaziz had before now taken critical examination of militating issues in the transmission system. Such issues include, why are some projects not on progressive track and thus, hindering and disrupting ease of transmission. Following from his inquisition, he revealed that “Some of those issues that didn’t allow grid to move include idling issues, wheeling issues, variation issues, some approvals that ought to come from the government were not got, staff who are supervising the projects need to be trained so that their capacities are equal to their positions.”

From the background knowledge of engineering and vantage of power transmission over the years, the TCN Acting Managing Director acted swiftly to embark on sweeping but necessary changes essential to engender hitch-free transmission system. In his words: So, when I came, the first thing that I did was to reorganize the projects department. Most of the Engineers were posted outside to the region. I found out that it is not the right thing to do. So, what I did was to bring them back to the headquarters to be doing the projects under the General manager Engineering.

“Then, the pending issues that we have, I write memos and liaise with the Minister of Power to get them approved. I’ve also been liaising with the Minister of finance, Nigeria Customs Service so that all the important things we have to move our projects forward are resolved. Then the contractors also, we’ve been having meetings with them to know their challenges and ensure that they are resolved. You know some of these projects have lasted up to 10 years and as you’re aware prices have changed. We renegotiated with them, some of them we had to approve their variations. So, with these now and as you can see, our projects are moving.

“In the grid and maintenance, when I came, there was no spare parts in the store. So, the first thing I did was to make advert and made sure that all the spare parts we require are there. That process is on going now, we have finished the technical aspects and we’re about to open the commercial tender. After that you’ll see that we will all the required materials to maintain our system.”

A brief background check on Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, reveals a lot on his decades of skill and knowledge acquisition which informs his decisiveness in proffering problem solving solutions instantaneously in his current position. Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz was the Regional Transmission Manager for Abuja Region of TCN before his appointment as the Acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, on 19th May, 2020.

He joined the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1996 as Manager, Electrical, and rose through the ranks to become the Senior Manager, Projects in the defunct Power Holding Company (PHCN) in charge of, and supervising various project sites nationwide. In 2013, Engr. Abdulaziz was made the Assistant General Manager, Technical Audit in charge of valuation and vetting of all technical jobs executed by contractors among others.

In 2014, he was moved  back to Projects department as the Assistant General Manager, Substation Projects, working as projects’ director for all TCN’s substations projects which includes general supervision, defining project parameters and ensuring compliance with specifications and timelines. As Assistant General Manager, Projects, he ensured the successful completion and energizing of various transmission substation projects including Kukwaba in Abuja, Maiduguri Substation in Borno, Odogunyan Substation in Lagos State and Okpella Substation in Edo State, among others.

He holds a BSc Electrical and MSc Automation Engineering from The Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria and is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Council for the Regulations of Engineering (COREN) and a Chartered Member of Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM). Engr. Abudulaziz has attended several local and international Engineering, Technical and Administrative courses.

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