Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nigeria Ibom Power Plant Collapse: Small Businesses Groan In Akwa Ibom

The collapse of the Independent Power Plant built by the Akwa Ibom government has led to prolonged power outage from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Eket and its environs even as a parallel fuel scarcity is inflicting a brutal toll on economic activity.

SaharaReporters learnt from officials of the PHCN in Eket that the power plant, which has never operated optimally, broke down and has not been fixed.  The officials could not specifically say exactly when the power plant packed up, but it was gathered that the situation has persisted for more than one month.

The status of the 190 megawatt capacity power plant has been shrouded in secrecy as officials of Ibom Power plant located in Ikot Abasi, with officials refusing to comment when contacted.

Meanwhile, the price of petrol and kerosene has risen to N200 per litre, following scarcity of petroleum products occasioned by a tanker drivers strike in the state. 
The energy shortages spell nightmares for small business operators whose daily struggles for survival have become more burdensome.

Essien Joseph, a welder in Eket, said that the high cost of petrol alongside power outage from PHCN has become unbearable.
“The situation has become so frustrating and we have stayed for weeks without power to run the welding machines and there is no alternative because the small generators cannot power a welding machine,” he told our reporter.  

According to him, “Even if you get the industrial power generator, where is the fuel to power it?  This is the situation we have been going through for several weeks.

Similarly, James Benson, proprietor of a business centre on Eket-Oron road, lamented the crippling of business in the past three weeks.  “We have been hoping that the power situation would improve in a few days based on the assumption that it was a routing fault which would be cleared soon but it has persisted, and the high cost of petrol has also worsened things.

“At N200 per litre of petrol, how can we make photocopy and break even?” he asked.  “We used to charge N10 per copy without light when we bought petrol at N97, how then can we increase it?”

Sources in the Eket Business Unit of PHCN said that the utility company was facing limited energy supply from the national grid.

“We were having stability here because the power plant generates in excess of what we require locally, so we [would] feed the surplus into the national grid but there was a sharp drop in supply because we now depend on supply to the national grid since the Ibom power plant crashed,” an official told SaharaReporters.

No comments:

Post a Comment