The Chief Commercial Officer of Aba Power Limited (ABL), Blessing Ogbe, has assured subscribers of the ABL that they could get their prepaid meters in less than 21 days if they followed the right process.
The ABL, a subsidiary of Geometric Powers Limited, is an electricity distribution company that covers nine of the 17 local government areas in Abia State that make up the Aba Ring- fenced Area.
Meanwhile, the Group Chairman of Geometric Power, Professor Bart Nnaji, announced on Wednesday that the 188-megawatt Geometric Power Plant in the Osisioma Industrial Layout, Aba, would start to generate electricity within two months.
Ogbe disclosed this at the Technology Incubation Centre in Aba,, during the two-day ‘First Conference on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on Market Opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)’ that ended on Thursday.
The assurance followed the launch of the N20 billion’s Aba Power Mass Metering Programme (APMMP) in May to provide prepaid meters to consumers within 10 days without paying any deposit.
Ogbe, who is an engineer, explained that the “10 working days are in practice two weeks because of the work-free days during the weekend and the Monday sit-at-home campaign in the five South-eastern states by some non-state actors.”
He, however, noted that “some customers collect the Aba Power Limited’ account number (not a bank account) and go home, expecting us to come to their homes and businesses premises and provide the meters,” adding that the deployment of prepaid meters are meant for customers that sent their completed form to any of its offices.
Another engineer with Aba Power, Ifeanyi Odumoko, also clarified that the Aba Power would be “providing each flat or shop a separate meter to promote accountability and transparency, but the failure to use competent and experienced technicians to bring out their wires for us to install prepaid meters makes the job a little more difficult for us.”
Commenting on the Geometric Power Plant, Nnaji stated that the power generation would start with one of its four General Electric brand turbines, adding that the second turbine would come on stream once the performance of the first turbine is declared satisfactory by the team of engineers led by KSE Energy of Turkey and an engineer and a former Executive Director of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Mr. Ben Caven.
Nnaji, who was a former Minister of Power, declared that “the generation of electricity from the Geometric Power plant will be a game changer in the socioeconomic development of not just Aba city but nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State serviced by Aba Power, a member of Geometric group.”
He disclosed this to the participants of the First African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Market Opportunities Conference holding at the Technology Incubation Centre in Aba, which was organised by the Continental Export Import (CONEX) Limited.
“We have completed building four brand new power substations and refurbishing three substations inherited from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), in addition to providing thousands of kilometres of cables and wires, as well as world-class tubular poles available in only highly industrialised cities such as Tokyo in Japan and San Francisco in California.
“All that remains now is to provide fuel or gas to the Geometric Power plant through the 27-kilometre gas pipeline from Owaza in Ukwa West LGA in Abia State to the Osisioma Industrial Layout on the Aba outskirts.
“Oilserv, Nigeria’s foremost indigenous gas pipeline builder, is doing a good job,” he said.
Nnaji, who was also a former Minister of Science and Technology who held the title of Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the United States, disclosed that though work has been completed on the seven substations, thousands of kms of wires as well as tubular poles, the power infrastructure will be put in use only when the Geometric Power plant becomes operational.
The plant inauguration, he added, would bring about a dramatic improvement in not power supply but also its quality.
The Aba Integrated Power Project, he continued, “is the only electricity company in Nigeria that generates and also distributes power.”
He disclosed that he chose to cite Geometric Power to catalyse Aba’s development as the headquarters of indigenous technology and manufacturing, noting that with “constant, quality and affordable electricity soon, the cost of doing business in Abia State will reduce significantly and this will, in turn, impact on the national economy.”
He advised Aba business people to embrace the AfCFTA because it would eliminate multiple taxes by various local and state governments as well as the federal government.
Nnaji commended Aba businesses for excelling in textiles, leather products and metals which need large export markets.
Other participants in the two-day conference, which ended on Thursday, include the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Shippers Council, United Bank for Africa, and the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank).