Following a statement by the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman that Sapele, Afam, Olonrunsogo, Omotosho, Ibom, Egbin, Alaoji and Ihovbor power plants suffered a “breakdown”, the Managing Director of Ibom Power Company Limited and Senior Special Assistant on Power to the Governor, Engr. Meyen Etukudo has said that Ibom power did not suffer a breakdown, rather the plant was shut down for a scheduled maintenance known as Major Inspection (MI).
The MD spoke today on ‘Power Panorama’, a radio programme aired by Inspiration 105.9FM. He said the Major Inspection, also called turnaround maintenance, was being done on the 115 megawatts unit 3 of the Ibom power plant.
“Nine power plants across the country shutdown due to one issue or the other, some have gas supply issues or issues with their equipment but Ibom power plant shut down for a maintenance that was already scheduled with the original equipment manufacturer, General Electric (GE)” he said.
Engr. Etukudo said that the drastic reduction in power supply from the national grid caused by the shutdown of the nine power plants has adversely affected the quality of power supply in Akwa Ibom State as the system voltage is below 132kV.
System voltage is the voltage range of an electrical power system assigned to a circuit to designate its voltage class conveniently. The four power transmission substations in Akwa Ibom State at Eket, Uyo, Itu and Ekim are classified as 132kV transmission substations.
“Since Ibom power is not on, the system voltage has been low because the state has to import power from Aba (the national grid). We measured the system voltage recently and it was 103kV instead of 132kV, the next time we checked, it was about 120kV so most equipment with high load demands will not work this period”.
He explained further that electric motors, chillers and so on will not work because such equipment cannot pick load if the voltage is not balanced on the three phases.
“For instance, if the electric motor is about 300 volts, the three phases must have 300 volts or more each. If the three phases have different volt levels, then there is no balanced voltage and that equipment will not work, although there will be power supply in the house”.
The MD however, said that Ibom power will soon be back on and the system voltage will return to normal.
“What we are doing is to bring back Ibom power quickly so that the system voltage will improve and get back to 132kV on the line and we will have quality power supply” he said.