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Akwa Ibom: SSA on Power Speaks on Strategic Activities in the State August 31, 2012

Posted by Ibompulpit in Economy, Government, News.
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  Dr. Victor Udo, PhD – Senior Special Assistant on Power to Akwa Ibom State Governor.

Before joining the Akpabio Administration, Dr. Victor Udo had over 25 years of experience in the generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electricity including the engineering, operational, public policy/regulatory and risk management aspects of power (electric/gas) business in a Fortune 500 Energy Company serving Washington DC and three US states. He is a career power systems (diesel power station, 450MW coal power plant, a fleet of 4,000MW combustion/combined cycle turbines, T&D and IT assets) operator, engineer, planner, manager and strategic leader including investment, project development, and corporate business management.


Dr. Udo has an established ability to interact with business and public policy leaders at all levels of employment and governance across multiple levels and layers of governmental jurisdictions, market segments and business processes. He has demonstrated the ability to partner with stakeholders, coordinate and coach professionals to ensure key risk and operational performance indicators are identified, assessed, recorded, tracked, managed and reported to the Board of Directors (BOD) with applicable improvement recommendations both at the private and public sectors.

He earned four degrees in engineering, energy/environmental management and public policy from Howard University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Delaware respectively. Dr. Udo attended the Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives at Harvard Law School and the Public Utilities Executives’ Course at the University of Idaho.  He was a Delaware for Obama Campaign Strategist and Canvassing Coordinator. He was the first Nigerian member of New Castle County Delaware (Home of Vice President Joe Biden) Planning Board and a member New Jersey Governor Renewable Energy Taskforce. Dr. Udo was also a member of the Community Advisory Board of The News Journal where he wrote several columns for this largest newspaper in Delaware.



The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Executive Governor on Power, Dr. Victor Udo recently joined Chief Senas Ukpanah, Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation and Special Adviser on Investments and Industrialization, to answer questions on power sector readiness for industrialization of the state. 

During the interview, the SSA on Power stated that there were five main components of power supply that the state government is working on strategically to improve the power situation for Akwa Ibom People. 

Below is a recap in Dr. Udo’s perspectives and words.


Fuel Supply – Natural Gas Infrastructure

The first component of steady power is the security of fuel source  that is needed for the generation of power. He stated that in this case of fuel supply, the state government has invested about $40 million (Dollars not Naira) to help the private sector develop gas processing plant and gas pipeline for the supply of the processed natural gas to the users which include Ibom Power Company and other users. The completion of this gas infrastructure is expected later in the year according to SEPTA.

The SSA on power disclosed that several private sector investors have indicated interest to build Independent Power Projects (IPP) in the State – especially in Ikot Abasi based primarily on this foresight by His Excellency to invest in the gas infrastructure.

In the long run, we can foresee this gas infrastructure being extended to residential and commercial sector, which will help to move the Akwa Ibom people from depending on firewood and kerosene to depending natural gas as means for heating and cooking.

He also stated that the Federal Government is constructing a new 330kV electric transmission infrastructure in the state. Gas and electric transmission infrastructure will help Akwa Ibom to become a power production hub on the national grid. In addition to this gas driven generation, we are aware of other renewable energy opportunities that may be available in the future.


Generation – Gas to Electricity

The second component, he said, is power generation. The SSA stated that the state government has invested significant amount (over $120 million plus additional $80 million investment from the federal government in the form of preferred shares) to build Ibom Power Plant with an installed capacity of 191MW – enough capacity to supply more than two times the demand in Akwa Ibom State as of the year 2011.

According to Port Harcourt Electric Distribution Company (PHEDC), the non-coincident peak load for Akwa Ibom was 90.6MW while the coincident peak load was 85.6MW in the year 2011. However, publicly available information shows that Ibom Power is currently producing much below the installed capacity due to gas and transmission constraints. With the improvement in gas supply and electric transmission line improvements, we should expect to see much more steady and improved power generation by the private sector in the State.

The SSA revealed that his office is currently working with Federal Agencies to identify and rectify power generation and evacuation problems in the State. He is also reviewing private sector investment proposals in the power sector across the state.


Electric Power Transmission – High Voltage

The third component of stable power supply is the transmission from the generation point to the load center where the voltage is stepped down for distribution and consumption by the consumers.  According to Ibom Power, transmission has been one of the problems why they are not generating at the installed capacity.  We are partnering with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to re-conductor the 132kV Itu-Uyo-Eket transmission line to remove any potential power evacuation constraint from Ibom Power. This reconductoring project should address the short term evacuation problem assuming that is the main problem at Ibom Power.

We are also working with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and NDPHC to link Ibom Power with ALSCON at both 11kV and 132kV. The 11kV connection will allow ALSCON to provide black-start capacity to Ibom Power when there is grid outage. The 132kV connection would allow excess power supply from ALSCON to be supplied to the grid and also allow Ibom Power to supply to ALSCON depending on operational needs. It should be noted that through ALSCON the people in Ikot Abasi are currently enjoying steady power supply.

For the longer term, the Federal Government is building a multi-billion transmission system across the state with a 330kV switching yard at Ikot Ekpene linking it with a large substation in Ikot Abasi. We are also exploring a 132kV ring network linking Ikot Ekpene to Ikot Abasi to Eket to Oron to Uyo and back to Ikot Ekpene. The explored network is expected to have 132kV/33kV substations at key locations such as Ekparakwa, Uruan and other such areas it traverse.  Also, Mobil Oil is planning a 330kV line from Ibeno to Ikot Abasi. Therefore, if all these projects are implemented as planned, there should be enough transmission capacity in the long run for Akwa Ibom State and beyond.


Electric Power Distribution – Low Voltage

The fourth component is power distribution. Here is the area in which Akwa Ibom State Government has made significant investments through Rural Electrification.  Based on publicly available information, over 80% of the villages and communities in Akwa Ibom State, has power distribution facilities. This is a great accomplishment under the leadership of His Excellency Chief Barr. Godswill Akpabio, CON. In this fit, we have made Akwa Ibom the first state (akpa obio) in Nigeria with this type of statistic.

To help ensure better management and effective result oriented operation of the distribution network, we are joining with the other BRAC (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River) States and core investors (under 4-Power Consortium) to acquire PHEDC from the Federal Government through the privatization process by the BPE. 

If we are successful in the bid, then we will have greater say on power distribution in the State. Without effective distribution management and customer care, the industry reform will have minimal impact.


Capacity Building

The fifth and perhaps the most important component for effective power supply is the intellectual capacity needed to develop, build, operate and manage the power infrastructure holistically. In this regards, His Excellency must be commended for reaching out to recruit the best in the industry that Akwa Ibom have to offer including yours truly.

I am personally grateful to His Excellency the Executive Governor for the opportunity and the challenge he has given me to be a part of his transformation team with a focus on power.  But clearly, this is not and cannot be a one man effort. So, we are looking at the people, process and technology aspect of the industry. We must put in place the institutional processes, procedures, programs and policies that will ensure uninterrupted power supply not just during this Administration but sustained and continuously improved for generations to come.

By also seeking core investors and technical partners in the acquisition of PHEDC, the state is working towards building a lasting intellectual capacity for steady power supply. This is why His Excellency called for 37 distribution companies across the Country. We will like our power sector to be a model for other states to learn from by being the first state (akpa obio) with uninterrupted power supply in the nation.


Concluding Thoughts

With sufficient resources, a clear line of sight and effective coordination of these five components, there is no question that His Excellency the Executive Governor’s objective of ensuring uninterrupted power supply within the shortest possible time will be accomplished under this Akpabio Administration.  My message to Akwa Ibom People is to give us the support, understanding and the time to produce lasting and sustainable results they have come to expect under this Performing Governor.

We must remember that Rome was not built in a day and that the 50 years of neglect and mismanagement of the power sector by succeeding Federal Governments will take time to reverse. However, with Governor Akpabio, there is hope and reason for optimism.