The Akwa Ibom government has laid three key founda- tions to achieve the target
of making affordable power avail- able for all citizens of the state.
The commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr John Etim, who disclosed this yesterday, while briefing newsmen in Uyo said, “these foundations were to serve as catalysts to birth the power revolu- tion, with the potential of providing an enabling environment for busi- nesses to thrive, and lifting many from poverty”
Etim mentioned the foundations to include, “connection of villages to the national grid, metering solu- tions, which involved the provision of prepaid meters, and network op- timization”
He said the Udom-led adminis- tration has worked tirelessly to achieve the goals under each of the segment mentioned.
The commissioner said, “At the last count, we have attained 94 per cent in the connection of the 2.274 gazetted villages to the national grid, and believe that we have performed remarkably well in this regards”
Etim said the feat was attained through the diligence and commit- ted support of the governor, whom he said took particular interest in the power sector.
He explained, “The remaining communities yet to be connected will soon be connected, so that they can join the league of communities with public power”
“To complement this, we tapped into the World Bank/REA Nigeria Electrification Program and invest- ment in renewable energy, and over 25 communities have been ear- marked across the state for solar powered mini grid. “Work has already started in Ini Local Government Area to build a mini grid that will supply solar pow- ered electricity to the communities there”, he said Under metering solutions, the commissioner noted that the Gov. Udom Emmanuel-led administration has achieved significant success in providing prepaid meters for instal- lation in key residential clusters.
According to him, the State Gov- ernment has earmarked 32,000 units of prepaid meters for installation in homes and businesses, in the met- ropolitan area of the state under pi- lot scheme
So far, 12,000 units have been distributed and installed, adding, “we are also expecting additional units of meters from the Federal Govern- ment through the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) due to the goodwill and the good relationship the governor and his lieutenants have maintained with the government at the centre.
The commissioner disclosed that the meters will be provided through Port Harcourt Electricity Distribu- tion Company, PHEDC.
On network optimization, the commissioner noted that the efforts of the government to optimize the power network have been geared towards the continuous servicing, repairs, maintenance, and installa- tion of major injection sub-stations, distribution of transformers, ar- mored cables, feeder pillars, electric poles, and other capital-intensive power-related infrastructure.
In response to complaints about failed or damaged power systems in some parts of the state, the com- missioner said his ministry, with the support of the governor, has inter- vened through repairs and replace- ments of power equipment and ac- cessories, as the need arises.
Giving a breakdown of the inter- ventions, Etim disclosed that gov- ernment has approved, released and installed over 470 distribution trans- formers in the 31 local government areas; constructed over 100km of both 33KV HT networks and 11KV HT networks all over the state, com- pleted the installations of hundreds of feeder pillars, and rehabilitation of over 300 distribution transformer sub-stations.
He observed the state’s invest- ments in the key power infrastruc- ture, such as Ekim Power Station, the Nwaniba Sub-station and are masterstroke feats in the running of dedicated lines to service key insti- tutions like the Ibom Icon Hotel, Victor Attah International Airport, Ibom Specialist Hospital, and the Dakkada Luxury Estate, among oth- ers, have become a model to many states and seriously reduced the frus- tration these institutions experienced as a result of epileptic power sup- ply.
While noting that a lot of efforts have been made towards linking ru- ral communities to the national grid, the commissioner further disclosed that to complement these efforts, the state government is deploying solar energy in several communities to benefit from the National Solar Programme.
“We will continue to advocate for more meters to be made available for both private and commercial customers. These, undoubtedly, will inch the state closer to its target of making affordable power available
for all citizens of Akwa lbom State. Given the huge investment in the power sector by government, the commissioner said “the citizens also owe themselves the responsibility of protecting the power infrastructure in their vicinity.
“They must ensure prompt payment of consumption charges and meter their subscription, to avoid estimated billing”, he said. Etim, who pointed out that, “de- spite all the efforts of the state gov- ernment, the legal structure of the country allocates some critical parts of the power sector outside the reach of the state government.
For instance, he said that no mat- ter the level of investment the state government undertakes, PHEDC is critical to the attainment of the power goal. He promised that the state gov- ernment has and will continue to engage PHEDC in a bid to push for more power off take and distribu- tion to our people.
‘‘We are hopeful that in the days ahead, PHEDC will see eye to eye with our state government on the need to increase supply of power to our citizens, while providing good customer service.
“We assure Akwa Ibom people that while the state government is engaging the distribution com- pany – PHEDC, we are also ex- ploring other means of ensuring that our state can have uninter- rupted power.
“Notably, the desire of Gov. Udom Emmanuel is that power should reach all the nooks and crannies of the state, and the source of power should be de- pendable and constant, so as to cause a drastic reduction in the running cost for businesses and enhance the living standards of our citizens.’’
Etim assured that “despite al- most achieving the target under the ‘power for all programme, we will continue to vigorously pur- sue the goal of providing depend- able power for all.”
He emphasised that the inten- tion of the intention of the state government to target the power for all programme was based on the fact that the administration Contd from Cover realized that industrialization was impossible without power sup- ply, hence the more reasons it chased both goals with equal vigour.
This chase, according to him, “birthed the 33kV injection sub- station at Nwaniba, which helped to step up power supply to citi- zens”
“As a result, electric power be- came available up to 20 hours each day in some parts of the state, and the electricity in the metropo- lis was nicknamed ‘Ikang Udom’.
‘‘Flowing from this huge suc-
cess, the governor was encouraged to: make other strategic investments in the power sector.
“These included the 132 X 33KV, 2×60 MVA transmission substation at Ekim, in Mkpat Enin Local Gov- ernment Area, in addition to the upgrade and optimization of the 132 X 33KV, 3×60 MVA transmission station at Afaha Ube, Itam, in Uyo metropolis, 33/11KV, 2×15 MVAin- jection sub-station at Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo, and the replacement of damaged and unserviceable trans- formers, and other power equipment and accessories all over the state.