NERC APPROVES ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY FOR AKWA IBOM
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved an independent power distribution network licence to be known as Ibom Utility Company for Akwa Ibom to distribute electricity in selected locations in the state.
The announcement was made in Abuja after the approval presentation ceremony by NERC.
The Akwa Ibom State Government delegation was led by the Secretary to State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, Commissioner for Power, John James and aide to the Governor on Power, and the Managing Director of Ibom Power, Mayen Etukudo
The Commission similarly approved the application for an amendment of the on-grid electricity generating licence to enable Ibom Power Company Ltd embed into the distribution network of Ibom Utility Company Limited.
According to a statement by an aide to the governor on media, Aniekeme Finbarr and made available to BusinessDay, this development is a big win for Akwa Ibom State as Governor Udom Emmanuel at several fora had lamented the absence of steady power supply said to have been caused by poor distribution despite huge investment by the state government in the power sector.
The governor hit the ground running when barely eighteen months in office, he inaugurated a newly built 33/11KV, 2 X 15MVA injection sub-station in Uyo, the state capital.
Thereafter, the Governor built a similar 33/11KV, 2 X 15MVA substation to provide dedicated grid power supply to the state-owned Victor Attah International Airport with a dedicated 33kv line from Ibom Tropicana.
In addition, when the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), energised 132/33KV electricity transformers in Calabar and Lagos, Governor Emmanuel collaborated with TCN to commission a 132/33KV, 1 x 60MVA transformer at Afaha Ube in Uyo. This 60MVA transformer increased the state’s available power for distribution from 96megawatts to 144megawatts.
According to the Governor’s aide on power, Meyen Etukudo, the upgraded substation provides steady power to ten local government areas in the state including Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, Obot Akara, Ini, Ikono, Ibiono, Etinan, Abak and Ukanafun.
TCN, the sole electricity transporter and link between generation companies and distribution companies in Nigeria, lauded the Governor for the partnership, which they said aligned with the incremental power policy of the Federal Government (FG).
Not done, Udom Emmanuel, again, collaborated with TCN and entered into an agreement to build a 132/33KV, 2 x 60MVA transmission substation at Ekim in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. The last time a transmission substation was constructed in Akwa Ibom state was twenty years ago.
As part of activities to celebrate the state’s 32nd anniversary, the Governor invited Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to commission Ekim 132/33KV, 1 x 60MVA substation.
The substation, which receives power from the state-owned Ibom Power Plant, has 33kv dedicated lines to Onna industrial hub, the location of Jubilee Syringe factory, King Flour Mills, Metering Solutions Manufacturing Services and the plywood industry.
It also provides steady power supply to Akwa Ibom State University and five local government areas including Onna, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo and Orukanam. In addition, Akwa Ibom State Government has secured a 30MVA transformer for the proposed construction of the Ikot Abasi substation.
In spite of these investments in the last seven years, some residents of the state decried the total blackout or epileptic power supply in their areas.
The outage was due to the privatisation of power distribution assets and Federal Government’s total control of power transmission, as Akwa Ibom State government did not have much say on the assets’ utilisation.
With this new approval, Akwa Ibom is set to independently manage its power resources and distribute them effectively.
Akwa Ibom has a power-generating company called Ibom power which generates over 100MW of electricity but the company has faced decaying energy infrastructure and other challenges in the distribution of power to consumers in the state.