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Rural communities to benefit from Akwa Ibom electricity distribution licence

  • Jan 24, 2023
  • 79 views
Source: 
The Sun

From Joe Effiong, Uyo

The recent license granted to Akwa Ibom State to distribute electricity by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will be more beneficial to the rural areas which never had electricity before than urban centres which had already been connected to the national grid.

Although the commission has approved the state’s application for the on-grid electricity licence to enable Ibom Power Company to embed into the distribution network of Ibom Utility Company Ltd, the state would still need to develop its distribution infrastructure to dish out its power, and not rely on the existing distribution lines statutorily owned by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED), the successor to the defunct National Electric Power Authority.

NERC said the license with reference number NERC/LC/244 would be valid till October 2032. It would enable Ibom Utility Company to distribute electricity only within villages and locations specified in the license terms and conditions.

According to NERC, “An independent electricity distribution network may be isolated off-grid rural, isolated off-grid urban or embedded independent electricity distribution network. Also, an independent electricity distribution network like Ibom Utility Company may be required to have a generator in its network.”

The Commission disclosed that the on-grid electricity generating license of the state-owned Ibom Power Company Limited has been amended to accommodate the independent electricity distribution network to be operated by Ibom Utility Company.

Daily learned that the amendment became necessary to enable the 191 megawatts Ibom power plant to embed part of its electricity generation into the distribution network of Ibom Utility Company Limited, the state-owned energy distribution company.

Akwa Ibom State has over the years made enormous investments in the power sector which started with the construction of the Ibom Power Plant at Ikot Abasi, which currently generates about 191 megawatts of electricity but which has been fed into the national grid.

The state has also built about three 132/33kv. 2X 15MVA substations in Uyo, Itu and Mkpat Enin with the aim of servicing industrial concerns such as Ibom Tropicana, Victor Attah International Airport, Jubilee Syringe factory, King Flour Mills, Metering Solutions Manufacturing Service, the plywood industry and the Akwa Ibom State University.

These investments have not however robbed off positively on the citizenry as the state is said to be one of the worst fed by the PHEDC, leading to low productivity among small and medium-scale enterprises.

The Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, who led the state government’s delegation to receive the license, confirmed this assertion that there is a correlation between the lack of a steady power supply and unemployment.

“We are not yet able to see the one-to-one correlation between copious availability of electric energy and unemployment. The day we fix the power supply as a nation, unemployment in this country will reduce to the barest minimum”, he said.

Dr Ekuwem lauded the Commission for setting the nation on the path of adequate availability of electricity by granting Akwa Ibom State the license to generate and distribute its electricity.

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