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HomeBusiness/Economy20,000 Aba landlords threaten to shut down Alaoji Power Plant over blackout...

20,000 Aba landlords threaten to shut down Alaoji Power Plant over blackout – From Gloria Uchenna/Aba

Alaoji Power Plant

 Over 20,000 members of the Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (ALPDA), have vowed to shut down the Alaoji power plant in Abia State, and occupy it if within the next 24 hours the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) fails to  rescind its disconnection order which has since last Friday thrown the state into darkness over N896m owed Federal Government agencies in the power sector by Aba Power.

Speaking at a press conference in Aba on Friday, the ALPDA President General, Chief Alphonsus Udeigbo, flanked by executive members of the association, said the disconnection of Aba Power from the sole transmission network violated the Electricity Industry Market Rules (EIMR) of 2010 on two grounds.

Chief Udeigbo observed that the TCN wrote a letter to Aba Power on April 19, 2023, asking it to pay its debt within one month and on the same date directed the market operator, a unit in the transmission company, to remove Aba Power completely within a few hours.

“This amounts to a profound and deliberate contradiction in a very sensitive sector.  It is a flagrant violation of market rules,” declared the ALPDA leader.

The second breach of the market rules in the power sector, according to Chief Udeigbo, is that Aba Power was not notified of the TCN’s order to the market operator to disconnect it from the nation’s sole transmission network “

“Both the market rules and natural justice demand the other party must be put on notice”, he stated.

 Udeigbo read out a letter written to the Market Operator, Dr Edmund Aje, signed by the ALPDA Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Leo Ike Okoye, and the BOT secretary, Sir B. Okoro, as well as the ALPDA Deputy President, Engr Leo Onyemesiri, the Secretary, Comrade Benson Imo, and the Legal Adviser, Barrister Ejike Obi.

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The letter reads in part: “We, on behalf of ourselves and on behalf of electricity consumers within Aba and environs, hereby demand you lift the said Disconnection Notice MO-DO/TCN/002/2023 within 24 hours from the date of the receipt of this demand letter having failed to comply with the market rules as well as the content of your own Suspension Notice.

“Take note that in the event of your refusal to lift the order within the stipulated period, we, the electricity consumers who are now being made to suffer the consequences of your action by throwing us into darkness since over a week now shall have no option but  to embark on a peaceful protest to your office at Alaoji Aba”.

According to Cliff Eneh, an energy consultant and a  former senior engineer with both the Power Holding Company in Lagos and the Texas Power and Light Company in the United States, If the Alaoji power plant is shut down it will affect power supply to not just the Southeast but also the South-South, up to Edo State,.

“The TCN, from the evidence before me, has acted unprofessionally and arbitrarily against Aba Power”, Engineer Eneh told journalists on the phone.

“It needs to ensure that the matter doesn’t escalate, otherwise heads will roll there.

“Legally speaking, the TCN or any unit of it like the Market Operator, is not licensed to act as a market operator.

“In fact, there are a lot of issues I don’t want to get into right now so that the power sector will not go into a tailspin”.

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