The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has queried distribution companies (DisCos) over the directive of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) banning 33KV primary feeder lines for distribution.
NERC, the power industry regulator, asked the DISCOS to explain why they ignored NEMSA’s directive on the feeder lines and point loads in the distribution subsector.
The Commission said, “Our attention has been called to a letter with reference number NEMSA/MD/0006/V/1164 dated 17th July, 2020 on the above subject addressed to Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the 11 Distribution companies.
“We will not like to join issues with the agency but the referenced letter contains so much falsehoods and misleading information that can confuse the public especially young engineers, if not promptly addressed.
“The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is a regulated sector and can only have one independent regulator, which is NERC, and that the NEMSA Act mandates them to issue enforcement notices, orders which must be backed by a regulation, standard, code governing the industry.”
The NERC stated that NEMSA is not empowered by its act to issue directives or sanctions to licensees of the Commission but can only issue enforcement notices and orders to a person or establishment where there is a violation of a subsisting Regulation or Directive of the Commission.
It added that if a person or establishment fails to comply with such enforcement notices or orders, NEMSA may proceed to court to compel compliance as stated in Part 5, Section 11(7) of NEMSA Act 2015 which reads:
“Where a person or establishment concerned fails to comply with an enforcement order, the agency may institute legal proceedings against it in any court to compel compliance,” it said.
NERC stated in the letter that Part five Section 13 of the NEMSA Act provides that the Agency may submit its input to NERC in the making of further technical regulations for the purpose of carrying out its functions.
“Section 9.3.1 (b) of the NESI Regulation states that distribution transformers shall be 25 KVA, 50 KVA, 100 KVA, 200 KVA, 300 KVA, 500 KVA, 1000 KVA, 1500 KVA and 2500 KVA suitable for 33 kv or 11 kv operations with 400 V at secondary side of the transformer, at a nominal frequency of 50 Hz.
“And suffice it to say that in a typical Injection Substation, 33/0.400kV transformer is used for earthing the HV side and powering the stations.
“It is important to guide young engineers that 33kV feeder line conductors in NESI are either 150mm 2 ACSR or 150mm AAC and their thermal rating is 400A, which translate to maximum loading of 20MW per 33kV Feeder,” NERC added.
“Loading these conductors to 200 per cent i.e. 800A (40MW) is practically impossible as there would have since been complete meltdown of the conductors and even protection relay settings can never be achieved.
“The Communique issued at the end of the 4th National Council on Power (NACOP) states clearly in G (iii) that NERC should issue specific guideline for reference.
“However, it is pertinent to emphasise that the NESI is not governed by ‘Policy Directives’ but by statutory regulations/ codes or directives issued by the regulator of the industry.
“It is therefore important to re-emphasize that failure by licensees of the Commission to abide by the extant regulations directives on the connection of customers or users of distribution system seeking connection or modification of connection to the distribution system shall be considered as a breach of condition 28 of your License Terms and Conditions (Connection to the Distribution System and Obligation to Supply) and shall be appropriately sanctioned by the Commission,” NERC stated in its letter to the DISCOS