Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Monday commissioned the 330kV Switching Station built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) under the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) in Essien Udim, Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State. The station was built to further reduce the amount of electricity stranded and unable to get to the national grid from power plants in the east.
Speaking at the occasion, Fashola said the station will help evacuate power from four power plants: Ibom Power, Clabar Power, Alaoji Power, and Afam Power through to Ugwuaji in Enugu and then Makurdi up to Jos.
The minister said Nigerians want more electricity delivered to their homes and offices, and as such more power will come from the four plants with a combined generation capacity of 1,800 megawatts (MW) which hitherto wheeled out about 700MW due to the transmission constraint.
He added that instance of stranded power from the south east electricity loop will be minimised by the coming on of switch station.
“When they said stranded I said can’t it work? But what stranded power rally means is that over the years we built power plants either without providing the gas so that there is one side of stranded power.
“There are plants ready to work, no fuel. The other side of stranded power is where there is gas like here in Akwa Ibom. You have Ibom Power plant with gas ready to go, you have Alaoji with gas ready to go, you have Afam with gas ready to go and you have Calabar power all ready to go. Between them, they have a combined capacity of 1,800MW but they are delivering roughly about 600 to 700MW.
“So, the rest of that power has no legs. It is stranded. This is why this switching station is important because it would help us as you have heard from our contractor evacuate power from Ibom Power, Calabar Power , Alaoji Power and from Afam. And it will help us boost power all the way to Uguaji and also support Makurdi which has been experiencing low voltage problem as we go on,” said Fashola.
He however stressed that he was only switching on a part of the station, and that the extra power from Alaoji and Ibom would not happen overnight since there was still a lot of work to be done.
He stated that communities within the station will be supplied power with transformers already in place to step down electricity for their use.
Similarly, the Managing Director of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo stated that the sub-station was energised on November 14 and has since been evacuating power.
According to him, with the station, stranded power can now get out to stabilise the grid.
“This commissioning of the eastern parts of the transmission grid marks the beginning of the end of stranded power in southern and eastern axis of the grid.
“It also marks the beginning of a more robust transmission grid that will no longer collapse. We now have better grid stability because of this work being commissioned today,” Ugbo said.