The new Alaoji to Ikot Ekpene transmission line constructed under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) could raise the national grid by over 1,300 megawatts (MW) of electricity when commissioned this month, according to Daily Trust.
The 330KV Direct Circuit (DC) transmission line which links the 540mw Alaoji NIPP generation plant in Abia State, with the 563mw Calabar NIPP, other generating plants, as well as a mega Switching Station in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, has been involved in hurdles of right of ways ROW and other legal actions for over two years, it was gathered.
However, at the power sector stakeholders’ meeting held in Sokoto recently, the handling company, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) stated that the issues have been finally resolved and the line which passes through Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Enugu states widely called the North-South Loop was ready for commissioning by month end.
The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) is scheduled to run some checks on the lines and certify it safe before it will be commissioned, the NDPHC said, noting that the line would cause a huge improvement in power transmission capability.
Reports show that in August 2015, NDPHC reported the hacking of one of the transmission towers in Oronta village of Abia State valued at N40 million. The transmission line is said to help deliver over 1,390mw from three NIPP plants including the Alaoji, Calabar and the 330mw Egbema plant in Imo State.
Mr Abdullahi Salisu, Former Executive Director, Legal and Company Secretary, of NDPHC, who addressed newsmen then said the 132/330KV transmission tower worth N40 million was hacked down even after the community was duly compensated after obtaining a Right of Way (RoW) for the over 200km line to Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom.
The NDPHC former Executive Director of Networks, Dr. Albert Okorogu, had told Daily Trust last year that the sabotage and encroachment of transmission facilities across Imo, Enugu, Abia and Cross River states are causing a lot of stranded power.
His words, “These powers are stranded in our generation plants with people frustrating its evacuation and distribution to the nation.”
In an observation trip through the 330 Kilovoltage (KV) transmission line then, new structures that were erected right under the line which is dangerous when they are energised for power evacuation.
Daily Trust learnt that some of these projects should have been completed since two years, long before the power plants were completed and ready for firing but have taken over four years with the plants ready and stranded at a time where the electricity supply is grossly inadequate for Nigerians.
Most residents who spoke on the issue said there were cases of under compensation by the government which had triggered the structures’ erection.
In June this year, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State during a courtesy visit to the past management of the NDPHC in Abuja urged them to fast track the completion of the line which he said would boost electricity supply to the state and spark off more industrial activities.
He said, “I am here essentially because I will like them to intervene first in the Enugu State Industrial Park Project, the state now enjoys a free trade zone status in 9th Mile, we can only realise this with power. The university town of Nsukka, the water scheme projects all require power.”
In his response yesterday on the completed project, NDPHC spokesman, Lawal Yakubu said the line is expected to evacuate a maximum of 2,500mw of power generated from the NIPP plants, Ibom Power and Afam Generation Company (GenCo).
Yakubu said the NDPHC’s Managing Director, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo sought for an out-of-court settlement with the communities with support from the governors of Enugu and Akwa Ibom state.
He said the line is strategic to strengthening the national grid as it will close the loop by connecting Ikot-Epkene through Ugwuaji in Enugu state to Makurdi’s new substation and then to the expanded Jos substation.
He said, “It is very strategic because if there is a fault in the other transmission line, this one that goes through Jos could substitute.”
The NDPHC spokesman said work is ongoing to replace the hacked tower in Oronta Community and that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola would commission the project after the NEMSA checks this month.