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ISSUES: ON THE LAST CHALLENGE IN THE PROGRESS TOWARDS CONSTANT POWER SUPPLY TO ABA

Engr Ben Caven

As preparations reach an advanced stage for the commissioning of the 18-megawatt Geometric Power plant in Aba, Abia State, to provide uninterrupted electricity to Aba and the environs, Engineer Ben Caven, reputed as the only person to have headed the Generation, Transmission, and Engineering divisions in the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) as the  Executive Director who is now the Managing Director of Aba Power Ltd, reports on the last challenge faced by the Aba-based electricity integrated company.

 

On the Last Challenge in the Progress of Providing Constant and Quality Power in Aba Ring-Fenced Area.

  1.  Officials of the Geometric Power group recently held frank and rewarding discussions on the electric power situation in Aba with leaders of the 22 member-Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (APALDA), and agreed on the way forward for the benefit of all stakeholders in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area. Here is a brief report on the last impediment to the takeoff of the Geometric Power plant in the Osisioma Industrial Layout, Aba, which is in fulfilment of the agreement we reached at the crucial meeting.
  2. The only remaining challenge to the technical commissioning of the 188-megawatt thermal power plant has been the non-supply of natural gas yet to fire the plant by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) which owns the majority stake in OML 17 at Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State. As you know very well, the 27-kilometre pipeline to supply gas to the plant was completed long ago, and last September the plant became ready for operations.
  3. Gas supply has remained an issue because of the change in the operatorship of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 17 three years ago; the change led to a three-year legal tussle between The Shell Petroleum Development Company and the Federal Government of Nigeria. When the Federal Government declined to renew the SDPC’s licence to operate OML 17 so that the NNPCL could operate it as part of the deliberate process to make the NNPCL become a globally competitive state-owned hydrocarbon company like Petronas of Malaysia and Petrobras of Brazil, Shell took the matter to the Federal High Court, and later to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. It lost all the way.
  4. Meanwhile, The SPDC made no investments in the Associated Gas Gathering (AGG) facilities during the legal tussle. This means a tremendous deterioration in the state of the facilities. The NNPCL has been working round the clock to rehabilitate the facilities to the highest standards; any mistake can result in grave consequences. We all know how dangerous gas can be. Once the last technical issue is resolved, the Geometric Power plant will start operations. This will be a historic day not just for the Geometric Power Group, but also for the people, communities, and businesses in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area, as well as the people and government of Abia State, and, indeed, the rest of Nigeria.
  5. The first General Electric turbine will automatically increase the quantum of electricity in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area from the current 25 Megawatts supplied by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to 47MW, which is almost double. 

The second turbine will take it to 94 MW.  The third turbine will increase the power output to 141 MW and with the peak demand of Aba Ring Fenced Area of 100 MW, the excess power may be exported to the National Grid. Power from the National Grid currently supplied to Aba will be made available to other parts of Nigeria, thereby making life better for all Nigerians. In other words, the commissioning of the Geometric Power plant will benefit all Nigerians, if not directly then indirectly.

  1. We are enthusiastic to provide you with electricity so that Aba will regain its status as the Japan of Africa. When the cost of goods manufactured in Aba reduces significantly, it will result in a reduction in the prices of goods across the country.

Such multinationals as PZ Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc as well as Glass Force have their manufacturing plants in Aba, and firms like Neimeth Plc are about to move their production plants to Aba because of the availability of constant and quality power supply in the Enyimba Industrial City.

  1. We are also eager to give sufficient power because the more power you get from us, the more revenue we receive from you, our happy and satisfied customers. About $800 million has been invested in the Geometric Power Group, the largest investment in the Southeast. Return on this massive investment can come only when we provide you with sufficient reliable and quality electricity.
  2. Finally, I would like to touch on the new electricity tariff. Most of you are not happy about it and even blame Aba Power for the spike. The truth is that tariffs are not determined unilaterally by distribution firms. The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulates tariffs. NERC is the only body authorized by law to decide electricity tariffs and when they can come into force. NERC approved a new tariff structure for Aba Power last year, but the company chose to absorb substantial revenue losses by charging the old rates until this year. The new tariff structure is based on Nigeria’s current economic realities.  
  3. Dear stakeholders, I thank you immensely for the opportunity to share with you useful information on the last challenge to the takeoff of the Geometric Power plant which will supply constant and reliable electricity to Aba Power, and from there to our industries, offices, and homes. Geometric Power Ltd cannot thank you enough for your patience, understanding, and unflinching support over the years. A new dawn is on the horizon.

May the Good Lord continue to guide, protect, and bless each of you.

 

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