By Alfred Agudiebube
A former Minister of Power and Steel, Professor Bartholomew Nnaji, has said that the long awaited take over of Aba electricity ring fence by the Geometric Power Limited has finally come to an end.
Nnaji who stated this on Thursday when he paid a visit to the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA), at their office said that age long story of unreliable power supply in the commercial city will soon come to an end.
The former minister who is the Chairman of Geometric Power Limited (GP), revealed that every obstacle stopping geometric from taking over has been settled and will definitely come to an end fully next month.
Nnaji however said he was in Aba to brief the business community on their readiness and added that they’ll soon start the rehabilitation of infrastructure which will be the first step towards their take off of Aba electricity business.
“The intention is to deliver absolute reliable electricity to industries, commercial outfits as well as the residential areas of Aba and its environs.
“The project spans around nine LGAs of the 17 LGAs of Abia State. In this project, we built 140 megawatts of power plant here. We built four additional sub-stations to add to the three already in existence when we arrived here making it seven sub-stations.
“The issue of power distribution is that if a particular transformer is overloaded then you cannot get power because everything shuts down. The way to solve that problem is to have enough transformers at various places, at sub-stations, the big ones before you begin to have other smaller injections of transformers.
“Then we already have our power lines which everyone has seen that we have built. Then we have our own gas pipeline straight from Shell which connected 27 kilometers from the power station to Shell. All these things have been built.
“When we finished all these things, the previous government the ring fence which was concessioned to us to the owners of Enugu Disco. Let’s call it a mistake because we went to court and we warn in court.
“And eventually the government mediated and it was done to be returned to us, but we have to refund what the people who bought it paid which is what we’ve spent time trying to do.
“The project stalled for seven years, but we are ready now to start and we came to talk to the business community in Aba that we are getting ready to start and the relationship we need to have with the business enterprises is what we are here to discuss. It has been a very torturous journey, but finally we are here.”
On the steps to be taken in the process of taking over and the required payment, Nnaji said,”It’s settled on paper, but within the next month or so it will be finally settled. That’s the actual payment will take place.
“There are steps. First, our company will take over the network, and begin to rebuild it which will take about five months to do. We have to recheck the turbines and re-establish the warranty and all these things will be in that period of time.
“So, within that period, there’ll be a lot of activities in Aba to get the power structure as planned to be ready and that should start by September (next month).
“It will be electricity for the 9 LGAs of Isiala-Ngwa North, Isiala-Ngwa South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Obingwa, Ukwa East, Ukwa West, Aba North and Aba South.”
Speaking on operational method he said, “We want it to be done as it’s been done now everywhere in the world with smart metres that will enable you know what you’re getting and at what cost you’re getting it. And that’s how it’s going to be.
“There’ll be massive installation of smart metres everywhere within our coverage. It will not be at the cost of the off taker. It’s who owns the metre that matters. So, normally it’s the company’s. Except in the case of the industry, there’ll be an arrangement.
“Because we want you to have confidence in the metre that you are using not just any kind of metre. For industry, they have industrial metres because of the amount of power involved. All the things we are doing now includes budget of metre and installation.
“Our goal has always been that always Aba will be the first city to have reliable electricity 24/7 going forward so that businesses don’t have to be power producers. They don’t have to worry about fuel and all that.”
FROM THE TOWER OF TRUTH