- 'We are doing well on the management and technical side'
- 'Ibom plant capacity will soon increase from 115mw to 153mw'
- 'Investors have been shortlisted for 500mw Ibom power phase 2'
- 'Ibom power is producing but PHEDC hardly takes the load'
- Ibom power has gotten a couple of awards and recognition
- We have done CSR in Ikot Abasi communities
- Our biggest challenge is that we are owed a lot of money
How has Ibom power plant been optimized since you resumed on the 1st of August 2016?
I joined Akwa Ibom State Government as the Special Assistant (SA) on Power to the Governor on the 1st of September 2015 after working for 32 years in the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Shortly after, I resumed as the Managing Director of Ibom Power on the 1st of August 2016. His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel appointed the Board of Directors on the 23rd of March 2017. The first port of call by the Board was a 3-day workshop facilitated by PEK Consulting with the theme “re-strategizing Ibom Power through good corporate governance”. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a synergy between the Board and Management of Ibom Power Company Limited. Afterwards, the Board reassigned some of the Management staff to optimize their performance and a Human Resources Consultant was engaged to improve our staff effectiveness. On the technical side, we completed the Hot Gas Path Inspection (HGPI) also known as the Turn Around Maintenance of our Gas Turbine Generator 3 (GTG 3), which has the capacity to produce 115megawatts. The completion of this turn around maintenance improved our plant’s performance. We also completed the Combustion Inspection (CI) on the same GTG 3 to change and service the fuel nozzles and associated fuel-burning parts among other necessary checks. The next thing we plan to do is the Major Inspection (MI). We are also working on our GTG 2, which has the capacity to produce 38megawatts. When the GTG 2 is ready, Ibom power plant’s capacity will increase from the current 115megawatts to 153megawatts.
What is the latest on the Ibom Power Phase 2 project and how have investors responded thus far?
Ibom Power phase 2 is to have a total installed capacity of about 500megawatts. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given Ibom power a 685megawatts license to accommodate the current 191megawatts phase 1 and the expected 500megawatts phase 2. The site for phase 2 is adjacent to the current site of our phase 1 in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State. A land mass of fourteen (14) hectares has been earmarked for the phase 2 project. We have evaluated about fourteen (14) investors who have expressed interest in the development of Ibom power phase 2. Three (3) have been shortlisted based on proven technical and financial capacity with international industry experience. We are careful to make sure we select the best. The estimated global benchmark to produce 1megawatt of power is currently $1.5million. This means Ibom power phase 2 will cost about $750million. Therefore, we are taking our time to ensure that the best investor emerges.
Why do some parts of Akwa Ibom state not have power supply even though Ibom power is operational?
His Excellency, the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has acted on this particular issue. He reported Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to NERC for PHEDC’s refusal to take the load from Ibom power plant to customers in Akwa Ibom State. The Governor disclosed in the petition written to NERC that Ibom power produces more than 112megawatts, which can provide enough electricity for the whole of Akwa Ibom State, but PHEDC does not take the power because according to PHEDC people do not pay their bills. Electricity supply has improved afterwards. More so, the Ekim 132/33kV, 1 x 60mva has been commissioned. This substation has commenced operation, as long as the Ibom power plant is on, there will be 24hours power at the substation that PHEDC will distribute to Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Oruk Anam, Onna, Easter Obolo and other parts of the state.
At Ibom power, we are constantly generating electricity, as we speak now we are producing about 80megawatts (mw) based on the report I received an hour ago. If PHEDC distributes the in Akwa Ibom State, we should have steady power supply. TCN wheels the power from Ikot Abasi to Eket, which is a load center, PHEDC hardly picks even 1mw to be distributed in Eket. Their excuse is that bills are not paid. The power is equally transmitted from Eket to Uyo, Uyo has 3 x 60MVA transformers which is about 144mw, the entire Akwa Ibom state cannot consume 144mw. Even the day the Governor commissioned the 60MVA transformer at Afaha Ube in Uyo; PHEDC only picked 22mw from a transformer that has 144mw capacity. If you ask them, they will say people are not paying their electricity bills. If PHEDC picks all the power produced by Ibom power, there will be steady and quality power supply in the state.
Can you share with us some of the accomplishments of Ibom Power Company Limited?
In 2017, Ibom power won the African Quality Award as the most innovative power generation services provider. By the grace of God, I as the MD also won the Best Chief Executive Award at the Global Executive Leadership Programme 2018 held at Howard University School of Business, Washington DC, USA. We received another international recognition when out of the twenty-six power companies in Nigeria, General Electric (GE) invited only Ibom power to present a Paper at the 2017 GE Frame 9E Users conference held in Dubai. When it comes to safety, we are number one. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has recognized Ibom Power as the cleanest and safest power plant in Nigeria. In addition, we successfully hosted the 25th monthly power stakeholders meeting where all power companies in Nigeria meet to proffer solutions to Nigeria’s power problems. At that meeting, the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola recognised Akwa Ibom State has the number one power state in Nigeria because of the strategic power infrastructure across the state.
Our plant has recorded one hundred and ninety-eight (198) days of operation without forced outage. Which means, the plant produced electricity non-stop for 198 days. NERC has renewed our 685megawatts power generation license, which is valid for the next ten years. In the community, we sponsored artisans from the community on various skills acquisition and gave them N150,000 each to start businesses in their area of training. We recently embarked on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where we gave N5million to the five clans in Ikot Abasi and Ikpetim, our immediate host community, for community development projects. Some of these projects have been completed.
What are the present challenges of Ibom power company Limited?
Our biggest challenge is that Federal Government agencies owe Ibom Power a lot of money. The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is made up of the gas supplier, the generation companies (Gencos), which are about twenty-six (26) in the country, Transmission Company of Nigeria (Transisco) – the only government owned company in the power sector, and there are eleven (11) distribution companies (Discos) in the country. We also have the regulator the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), which is the off taker. These all form the NESI. Ibom power may generate electricity worth N1billion and the invoice is sent to NBET; it is NBET that pays for the electricity we produce at Ibom power. Since I came here in August 2016, we have never been paid 30% of our monthly invoice. The highest I have received is about 26%, we have received 8% at a very bad point. This simply means if N1billion is invoiced for the month and you are paid about 22% that is about 200million. The balance of about 800million is regarded as legacy debt. The reason NBET pays so low is that, according to them, Discos do not remit sufficient revenue. The gencos are the worst hit by this situation the reason being that the gas company must be paid, plant maintenance must be done. That is how it has been. The legacy debt owed to Ibom power stands at about N9billion.