Governor Udom Emmanuel

Protest by community stalls company’s operations, substation project

Abasifreke Effiong

The Ibom Power Company Limited, an Akwa Ibom state government owned electricity generation company says the federal government is owing her N90billion for electricity it generates, which is transmitted and distributed by companies working for the federal government.

Managing Director of the company, Engr. Meyen Etukudo who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Uyo urged the federal government to pay up the bills to enable the company meet its needs.

The company was shutdown last week by youths of its host community – Ikpa Ibekwe in Ikot Abasi local government – over the disconnection of electricity in the area by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC.

PHEDC claims that Ikpa Ibekwe is owing electricity bills amounting to N55million, but the community say the claim is frivolous and outrageous.

According to the Etukudo, Governor Udom Emmanuel has paid N18million to PHEDC between 2018 and last week in lieu of electricity bills reportedly owed by electricity consumers in Ikpa Ibekwe.

“In 2018, PHEDC cut off Ikot Abasi, it took my intervention and the Governor to invite PHEDC and talk to them, they said they were owed N43million by consumers in Ikpa Ibekwe. And the Governor magnanimously released N13million and I paid it to PHEDC in Eket. After that, they were reconnected. Ever since then, the bill has grown again from 2018, presently PHEDC says they are owing N55million.”

“So, on Tuesday (14th January) when we went to meet the Governor, he again released N5million as down payment to PHEDC to reconnect the line.”

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Youths from the company’s host communities blocked the entrance to the power plant last week in a sit-tight protest which lingered for days saying that it was unfair to host the power company, yet do not have light.

The protest has stalled generation of electricity and the commencement of construction of a new power sub-station in Ikot Abasi, the company said.

FG is owing Ibom Power N90 billionr Engr. Meyen Etukudo, Managing Director, Ibom Power Company

However, the company has appealed to the community to call off the protest and allow the government address their concerns.

Management of the company said it has explained to the community that it does not have the power to transmit nor distribute electricity.

“The community has been saying that it is hosting our company yet they do not have electricity. Ibom Power Company generates electricity, that is the only thing that we do. There is another company that transmits, there is another that distributes electricity.”

“We have told the community that things are being done to address their concern. And nobody except those in the power sector will understand that we don’t distribute electricity, but we have agreed to build a power substation there to take power and supply to the community. And even when we do that, we will only generate and send power to that substation as we send elsewhere. The entity to distribute is PHEDC.”

“For now what we have done is what can be done, that is, the down payment to get the community reconnected.”

Etukudo disclosed that Governor Udom Emmanuel has approved the construction of a power substation in Ikot Abasi, but regretted that take-off of the project was stalled by the protest.

“The governor has approved that work should start for 132×33, 1×30MVA substation. So, we are waiting for the youths to clear off the barricade so that we can bring in engineers to do the design.”

The state government in September 2019 completed a 132/33KV, 60MVA transmission substation at Ekim, Mkpat Enin local government area, a border local to Ikot Abasi where the new substation will be sited. The Ekim substation was commissioned by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in the build up to the state’s 32nd anniversary.