By B. N. Etim

With the recent unbundling of the power sector by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 2021 power-for-all agendum of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration in Akwa Ibom state is possible.

On Wednesday 4th December, the Federal Ministry of Power gave a commitment that its ‘differential power distribution policy’ will come into enforcement. Under the policy, electricity will be wheeled directly from the generation companies (GenCos) to willing consumers who are ready to fully settle their bills.

The new electricity distribution policy called “Willing Seller, Willing Buyer” is designed to bypass middlemen and sell power directly to consumers, the Minister of Power said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Communications), Aaron Artimas.

Speaking on a Freedom Radio phone-in programme in Kano, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said the policy was designed to save energy losses in the sector and assist GenCos that have not been getting full payment for their generated power.

The Minister revealed that DisCos have not been distributing all the power wheeled to them on the pretext that the consumers were not paying for power supply. This necessitated the huge federal government’s subsidy intervention in the power sector by paying the GenCos for undistributed power. Over 2,000MW of electricity generated GenCos is not distributed to consumers due to failures within the distribution chains operated and managed by DisCos. Hopefully, this experience is surmountable under the new policy where there is an explicit guarantee that electricity will be distributed directly from GenCos to willing consumers may include community and commercial clusters, industrial areas and hospitality sectors.

This pilot scheme of this policy has run successfully in Kano state, and testimonies are that it has drastically reduced unjustifiable increase in electricity tariff without a concomitant increase in supply which has been the forte of the Discos.

Prior to the unbundling of the power sector by the federal government, Governor Udom Emmanuel took a visionary bold step by building hard super infrastructure for electricity transmission and distribution in the state. The humongous undertakings were such that should have been done by the federal government. The former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, after seeing these investments described Akwa Ibom as a ‘power state’ in March 2018 during the 25th power sector stakeholders’ meeting.
Governor Udom Emmanuel[/caption]
Right from when the Governor took over the mantle of leadership in the state, he has demonstrated unflinching commitment and insatiable quest to ensure that Akwa Ibom State has steady power supply which is a cardinal attraction to investors. In 2017, in his resolve to ensure steady power supply to Uyo, the state capital, the governor built a modern 3311KV, 2X15 MVA electricity injection sub-station.

The Udom Emmanuel administration working with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) constructed a 132/33kV, 2 x 60mva transmission substation at Ekim in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. It was during the commissioning of the transmission substation that the Vice President, Prof.Yemi Osinbajo, launched the power-for-all by December 2021.
“Once this transformer is energized, it has the capacity to produce 48megawatts of power which is sufficient to provide 24hours power supply to five local government areas – ONNA, Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo, Oruk Anam and Ikot Abasi- at full operations’’, Managing Director of Ibom Power Company, Engr Meyen Etukudo said.
With the Ekim substation, it would be possible to receive power directly from Ibom power plant. The Ibom Power Company owned by the Akwa Ibom state government generates 115 megawatt of electricity a day, which is enough to meet the power need of the state.

When Governor Udom Emmanuel came up with the Power-for-All by 2021, many people even those close to the government who have noted the significant investment made by the administration expressed reservations about the agenda. Their reservations stemmed from the monopoly of the federally controlled distribution of electricity through the DisCos. With the unbundling of the DisCos through the differential power distribution policy, states will have ample opportunity to participate in the retail distribution of electricity as an interested buyer.

With the huge investment in power infrastructure by the Emmanuel’s administration, Akwa Ibom has an edge above other states to key into this new federal policy. By benefit of a clear vision as a strategic planner, Governor Udom Emmanuel had laid a foundation for this joy that has come. Thus, there is hope that as the governor promised, every household in the state will have 24hours electricity.