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‘IBOM POWER NOT BEHIND IKOT ABASI OUTAGE’

Story Highlights
  • Ikot Abasi is protesting black out in their community
  • PHEDC disconnected the community over unpaid bills
  • Last year, Gov. Udom intervened to pay off N13m owed by Ikot Abasi to PHEDC
  • The community wants direct supply from Ibom power plant
  • Ibom power MD says a substation is needed to take power from Ibom power to Ikot Abasi
  • Ibom power is holding meeting with the community to resolve the issues

The Managing Director of Ibom Power Company Limited, Engr. Meyen Etukudo has said that Ibom power is not the cause of power outage in Ikpa Ibekwe community but that Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) disconnected the community from the electricity grid because they owed about N60million in unpaid electricity bills.

Engr. Etukudo said a similar incident occurred about two years ago when PHEDC disconnected Ikot Abasi from the electricity grid over unpaid electricity bills that allegedly accumulated to about N43million.

“As the Special Assistant (SA) on Power to the Governor at that time, I took the matter to the Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel. After negotiation with PHEDC, the Governor approved that N13million should be paid and the community should be reconnected to the grid”.

The Governor’s aide said, “The money was paid and PHEDC reconnected the community. Subsequently, when PHEDC officials went to collect bills for the electricity supplied for that period, the community did not pay and PHEDC disconnected them because according to PHEDC, the bill had accumulated to about N60million”.

On the community’s agitation to receive power directly from Ibom power plant, the MD said that provision was not included in the original design of Ibom power plant when it was constructed in 2001.

“The wrong belief is that there is a wire that can be connected directly to Ibom power plant, which will give light to the community. However, power does not work like that. To get power from any power station to the community, there must be a station services transformer. The station services transformer will connect to the host community through a 132kV line. This provision was not at Ibom power over the years. I resumed on 1st August 2016”.

The MD said, “Steps have been taken to solve this problem. Ibom power appointed a consultant to provide a preliminary design and a bill of engineering quantity for the construction of a 132/33kV, 1 x 30mva substation to be constructed adjacent to Ibom power plant. This substation will receive power directly from Ibom power plant and supply Ikot Abasi communities”.

“The Governor directed that I should present the proposal for the construction of this substation at the meeting of the Finance and General Purpose Committee (FGPC), that meeting held on Friday, 10th January 2020” he said.

“The President of Ikot Abasi Youth Council, Idongesit James, was in in my office on that Friday evening, I left him to attend the meeting with the Governor at the FGPC where approval was given for the construction of the 132/33kV, 1 x 30mva substation at Ikot Abasi. How many hours are there between Friday, 10th January when the FGPC meeting held and Monday 13th January that the youths decided to block our entrance in protest?”

He however, said that meetings have been held with the Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi, HRM Edidem U J Ntuk Obom, the Local Government Chairman, David Eshiet and other stakeholders in Ikot Abasi to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

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MICHAEL DADA

Michael Dada is the media/publicity officer at Ibom Power Company Limited. He is a graduate of Journalism from Lagos State University School of Communication. He did internship at The Nation newspaper and Voice of Nigeria. He has a Digital Marketing Master Class certificate from Wild Fusion Digital and a certificate in WordPress web design from Spring Light Technology. He holds a Competence in Writing and Speaking certificate from the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University. He has a post-graduate certificate in Advanced Writing and Reporting Skills from the School of Media and Communication. He is an associate of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and an alumnus of Pan Atlantic University.

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