Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has finally reconnected Aba Power to the national grid after over 10 days of power outage in the commercial city of Aba and its environs.
The management of Aba Power announced in a statement that it was reconnected to the national grid at midnight of Sunday, after paying part of its debt to the Market Operator last Friday.
It however got a grace period of 60 days to clear the entire debt.
“Despite the unfavourable operating environment in the country which has gravely impacted our customers’ ability to pay their bills, Aba Power, paid N120m to the Market Operator last Friday, so as to reconnect it to the grid immediately,” the statement read.
Aba Power, which supplies electricity to the Aba Ringfence was plucked out of the National grid on April 19, 2023, by the TCN Market Operator over indebtedness in excess of N800 million.
The disconnection which had plunged the nine local governments that make up the Aba Ringfence into darkness had sparked outrage and condemnation due to the rash manner the TCN-MO acted. Giving account of its travails Aba Power said the Market Operator, a unit of the TCN had on April 19, 2023, served them a notice giving them 30 working days to clear the debt.
“The same day, the Market Operator wrote to the TCN asking it to cut us off immediately from the national grid. The Market Operator complied,” the statement added.
According to Aba Power, what the TCN-MO did to the Aba Ringfence was unusual and unprecedented hence it smacked of discrimination and malice.
“This is the first and only time in Nigeria’s history that an entire area serviced by an electricity distribution company has been cut off from the grid, with all the far-reaching socioeconomic and security implications for the whole nation.
“In the case of other DisCos, not more than two or three feeders would be put out for two or three days, despite owing billions of naira,” it added.
The Aba Power lamented the, “tremendous revenue and equipment losses,” incurred while the blackout in the Aba Ringfence lasted for more than one week.
The company profusely thanked Nigerians from all parts of the country for demonstrating, “not just an uncanny understanding and patience but also amazing solidarity with us.”
“We cannot thank them enough for their stupendous confidence in us and unflinching commitment to the common good. But we can pledge to continue to work harder to provide reliable, quality and affordable power to all nine local government areas in Abia State we serve.
“To serve the people and organisations in the Aba Ringfence Area better, we need the support of all the stakeholders.
“We need individuals and communities to guard power infrastructure in their localities and report any suspicious act of vandalism to us or to any security agency. We constantly lose expensive machines, equipment and materials to thieves.
“We also need electricity consumers to pay their bills as and when due. When we generate revenue from customers who pay for power consumed, we will be able to discharge our obligations to not just electricity providers like the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd but also government agencies like the Transmission Company of Nigeria”.