* 145 megawatts coming
Minister of State for Power, Jeddy Agba, has assured that by December 2020, the people of Cross River State would begin to enjoy uninterrupted power supply within Calabar metroolis and its environs.
He assured that the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has concluded plans with a subsidiary of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Calabar Power Generation Company, to supply 24-hour electricity to customers.
The upgrade in supply from 45 megawatts presently serving the metropolis and it’s environs will be achieved by evacuating an additional 100 megawatts of electricity from the 625 megawatts capacity power plant at Ikot Nyong in Odukpani LGA to make it 145 megawatts in a bid to make the City smarter and boost industrialization in the state.
Agba said this at the weekend during a supervisory tour of the power plant at Ikot Nyong.
The Managing Director of PHEDC, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, represented by his deputy, Kingsley Achife, in the company of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, both led the Minister of State on tour of the plant.
Smart meters needed
They revealed that the planned evacuation of the 100 megawatts to serve customers in Calabar and its environs will require the improvement of the power lines in the area as well as getting smart meters across to every customer in the metropolis and beyond.
Speaking at the Plant, the Minister of State for Power said he was satisfied with what he has seen on ground and as a government, his office has been working with the NDPHC and PHEDC to achieve the ultimate goal of having a steady power supply to homes which will not only boost standard of living but lead to massive growth and development as it directly supports industrialization.
Agba said :“Another good thing is that the federal government has approved that smart meters should be brought into the country free of any charge of a tariff. For years meters had been in the port because of a tariff.
“Now the government has deregularise that and the meters are brought in for free. So in a short while, people will have meters to know what they consume and pay for the same. In six months from now, there should be a noticeable improvement both in supply and in metering.
“The government is committed to its duty for the provision of social services and we want to see this go through”, the Minister said.
Power requires huge investment – PHED boss
On his part, Kingsley Achife, who represented the CEO of PHED, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, explained that the company has signed a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with the Niger Delta Electricity Holding Company to take as much as 100 megawatts from the plant to service the customers in Calabar and its environs.
His words :”Right now we are working on the various networks bottlesnecks along the supply lines to ensure that customers in Calabr get a better experience in terms of power supply.
“we are looking at the next six months. In fact, by the end of the year, we should be able to achieve the first phase,we want to make Calabar a smart city .
“One of the messages we want to get out there is that the power business requires money to operate and we hope that people will pay their bills and not shortchange the companies and hence short change all of us as Nigerians. Metering is part of the project and we are targeting 100% metering.”
Only 200 out of 625 mw is being generated – CEO of NDPHC
Also speaking ,the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company,NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo noted that the power plant at Ikot Nyong is functioning at full capacity and it has been sending out power to the National grid.
“Right now out of the 625 megawatts we are doing about 200. That is because the pipeline is being maintained by both ACCU Gas and the NDPHC.
“We are doing what is called pigging – a routine periodic cleaning of the gas pipeline. So that all impurities along the lines can be removed and pure gas can be gotten into the turbines,” he said.
He insisted that the Power plant is functioning optimally and the rates are low in terms of cost that goes to the end-user adding that the cost won’t be much for the customers at the end of the day because it was a win win situation for all both investors and customers.