Expert seeks reliable, adequate, affordable power supply in Isoko nation

...Tasks Delta govt, NDDC, DESOPADEC, IDU, others on stable electricity

By Edu Abade

As the entire country, Delta State and especially Isoko nation continue to wallow in gross darkness following the constant outages from the national grid, government at all levels have been urged to ensure that something drastic and urgent is done to provide reliable, adequate and affordable power supply to Isoko land.

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An Isoko indigene and Fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (FNSE), Engineer James Ikumariegbe Ozore, made the call in a recent proposal to the Delta State government, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), the Isoko Development Union (IDU) and other stakeholders titled: Reliable, Adequate And Affordable Power Supply Needed In Isoko.

Ozore, who initiated several electricity projects under the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) before he retired post-privatisation of the power sector, argued that modern technological innovation and advancements depend on constant power supply, which plays a dominant role in industrialisation of any nation, insisting that electrical power remains the most convenient source of power being used in industries and residential homes.

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His words: “Although Isoko was connected to the National Grid in 1988, Isoko people have been using electricity for decades. Thanks to some Isoko indigenes and Soko Tech, the contractor that was involved in the electrification of Isoko land.

“For the industrialisation of Isoko nation, there is the need to have reliable, adequate and affordable power supply. In the quest to have adequate power supply, Delta State Ministry of Energy during former Governor James Ibori’s administration awarded a contract in 2002 for the design and construction of 132KV Double Circuit Transmission Line from Afisere (Ughelli) to Ozoro that included a 132KV/33KV Transmission Substation in Ozoro to supply power to all Isoko towns and villages.

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“The contract, which was awarded to a Benin-City, Edo State-based consultant- Oska-Jo and Partners, was abandoned and rewarded by the NDDC in 2014 with Contract No: 369: Extension of 132KV Line from Afiesere (Ughelli) Substation to Ozoro Substation and a Line Bay (Lot3) in Delta State.

“The second contract, which was awarded to GBORIP Nigeria Limited on December 18, 2014, was recommended for termination by the NDDC due to poor performance in the recent review of its contracts.”

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Ozore, who lamented that unfortunately, Isoko land has been in gross darkness since the privatization of the Power Sector in 2013 due to inability of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to supply Isoko reliable and adequate power, however, commended the President of IDU, Prof. Chris Akpotu, for inaugurating the Isoko Alternative Energy Committee headed by Engineer Onwo Nelson to generate 10MW of power for Isoko in July 2023.

Citing the case of Bayelsa State Immringi (Kolo Creek) Independent Power Plant established by the first civilian Governor of old Rivers State, Chief Melford Okilo, that is no longer in operation, he called for a critical review of the 10MW Project, as experience has shown that state governments and organizations like IDU could not successfully operate and maintain Independent Power Plants (IPPs).

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“If IDU is interested in improvement of Power Supply in Isoko, it should not be involved in the construction, operation and maintenance of Independent Power Plant, but assist in providing Power Supply Infrastructure (Transmission lines, Distribution lines and Transformers) that are inadequate in Isoko.

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“The union should enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a reputable Power Service Provider that can generate, transmit and distribute electricity in Isoko. Electricity consumers in Isoko will pay their electricity bills promptly for them to have constant power supply.

“Since a lot of capital is required to provide generation, transmission and distribution facilities, IDU should engage the NDDC, DESOPADEC, Delta State Ministry of Power, Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the National Content Management Development Board (NCMDB) for assistance,” he stated.

He, therefore, proposed robust investments in generation, transmission and distribution facilities for increased domestic, commercial and industrial purposes and charged IDU to reach out to Delta State Ministry of Power and DESOPADEC to provide more injection substations, transformers and distribution lines in Isoko land.

He also urged wealthy Isoko people to assist in the provision of injection substations, transformers and upgrade of distribution lines in their communities, adding that globally the use of renewable energy resources, especially solar, is increasing on a daily basis to reduce carbon emissions with a view to mitigating the impacts of the much talked-about climate crisis in the area.

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600,

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