The Managing Director, Ibom Power, Meyen Etukudo, an engineer, has revealed that the power firm is consolidating on its existing investment by targeting construction of about 500MW power plant in addition to its current 190MW. This is even as he made it known that the 685 megawatts (MW) licence acquired by the company has been renewed till 2028.
In a chat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Etukudo lamented challenges confronting the power plant which he noted to include the inability of its host Distribution Company (DisCo), Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), to take the quantum of power it generates. For instance, he explained that if Ibom Power generated 100MW of electricity and the DisCo is only able to take 60MW, then the remaining 40MW is sent to the grid at the National Control Centre in Osogbo, Osun State.
According to him, the inability of the host DisCo and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to invest in infrastructure upgrade was a major setback to the state, saying the Akwa Ibom State government has however taken up the responsibility of TCN by building 132/33KVA and 260MVA at Ikam, which he said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated in 2020. This, he further noted, is a giant leap that has not been recorded anywhere in the country.
He said the state Governor, Emmanuel Udom, took the decision not to wait for the Federal Government through TCN to invest in the project because it would go a long way in solving the power supply challenges confronting industries in the state.
Etukudo explained that the gesture by the state government was also to ensure that the schools and hospitals also enjoy uninterrupted power supply, saying it remained regrettable that the state government was doing all this alone without help from anywhere.
He said if the governor had all the powers, he would have done far more to transform the electricity sector in the country, saying the 40 per cent stake of the Federal Government in the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has prevented him from making the desired investment in that regard.
Etukudo said Akwa Ibom is blessed not to have had gas challenges, saying the gas pipeline laid to Ibom Power is enough to take about 400 million standard cubic feet of gas (scuf) which is enough to take care of the phase two of the 500MW power plant.
On debt, he said the power plant since 2016 when he came on board has not been able to receive 30 per cent of its invoice to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET). Currently, he said NBET indebtedness to Ibom Power runs into billions of naira, adding that if it invoiced N1 billion, it only gets about N300 million in payment.