…electricity supply will not commence in September – Nnaji clarifies

Geometric Power Limited (GP), a pioneer power project developed in Alaoji, Aba, Abia State commercial city to provide quality and uninterrupted electricity to the city is nearing completion. The project which is promoted by former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, had suffered delays on account of disagreements with Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and its key investor, Chief Emeka Offor. But Prof Nnaji says the issues have been resolved and the project will be completed before December.

“Our goal has always been that 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,” Nnaji said few days ago when he was in Aba to brief the business community on the company’s readiness to begin power generation.

“Geometric Power as you probably know has been on the process of developing the first Integrated Power Project in this country and it’s here in Aba. 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.”

Late last year, Geometric Power signed an agreement with the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and its joint partners to supply an aggregation agreement that will support the 140 Megawatts Aba Integrated Power Project. According to the agreement, SPDC will supply gas from the SPDC joint venture gas plant in Imo River traversing Abia and Rivers States to the power producer, Geometric Power, through a gas pipeline network. Nnaji said the deal is already done.

“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,” he said.

Addressing the prolonged dispute with EEDC, he noted:

“When we finished all these things, the previous government took 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 won in court.

“Eventually the government mediated and it was 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.”

Nnaji also clarified on the required payment, saying, “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 re-check 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

“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 it’s 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.

“It will be electricity for the nine LGAs of Isiala-Ngwa North, Isiala-Ngwa South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Obingwa, Ukwa East, Ukwa West, Aba North and Aba South.”

However, while there are already reports that the project will start electricity supply in December, Nnaji clarified to BusinessesHallmark on Friday that the report is incorrect.

“That is not quite right, because what people go to write is that we are starting production of electricity in September, we are not,” he said. September happens to be when we are working on getting started with completion, but not to start generating electricity.”