The dream of Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade of delivering regular power supply to Calabar metropolis with the construction of a 23 megawatt power plant will soon become a reality.
Governor Ayade who disclosed this Tuesday, during an inspection of the plant, said the government was waiting for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company’s final nod to hook up to its distribution lines.
Speaking shortly after the inspection, the governor said: “We had done a trial evacuation in the past and we were confronted with huge technical challenges such as aging and weak lines that lacked the capacity to be able to carry the full current that was being generated from the plant.”
On the readiness of the plant to go full blast on the supply of power, Ayade further hinted: “A lot of adjustments have been done, corrective actions taken and today we are also getting ready as we are expecting PHED to come and give us power outage so that we can hook up from the power plant.”
Continuing, the governor assured: “Our hope is that if the test run goes smoothly, then Calabar will be enjoying 24 hours of electricity without recourse to the national grid and that will be a major milestone. This will be coming at the right time because of Covid 19 where we have reduced activities and a lot of people will be needing power to stay at home.”
Expressing excitement at the realization of the project Governor Ayade offered: “I am happy and proud that indeed Cross River State is continuously leading with this special power plant that will now be delivering power to our homes.”
On how the state intends to recoup its investment, Ayade said: “With our interest so far and with all the Investment we have done in PHED, we have never declared profit so we are just hoping that with the proposed increase in tariff by the Federal Government, we hope that it should run profitably so that atleast it can declare dividends and the state can begin to harness their Investment.
“But as we speak today, we still have challenges with most of the lines. In some areas, the transformers are not working. Cross River State has bought over 200 transformers to support PHEDC to get them on the lines. But as you know, once you put in a transformer it becomes property of PHEDC. So we have put in so much on public power supply without a corresponding supply of power from PHEDC.”
Offering further insight on the relationship between the government and PHEDC, Ayade disclosed: “At this point where we will need their cooperation, it is expected that they will give us some charges. But we are proposing an island method which means that they isolate the part of town that will be fed from our 23mw and give us full independence of those areas, so that when it becomes necessary we can switch back and get back in the grid but from time to time, we can just cross supply.
“Basically, on the island system, if Cross River State power plant is responsible for Idundu, Satellite town, for example, those areas will be shut down from PHED and dedicated to our power plant. That is the Island system, otherwise, we will distribute to the whole town and share our power as public power.”