The Aba Power was reconnected to the national transmission grid on Monday after 10 days of disconnection due to failure to pay the government company that transmits power, the company has said in a statement.
On April 19, the Market Operator, a unit of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) issued a 30-day notice to the company to clear a debt of N896 million and on the same date directed the market operator, a unit in the transmission company, to remove Aba Power completely from the national grid within a few hours.
Over 20,000 members of the Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (ALPDA) threatened to mobilise to the Alaoji Power Plant in Abia State and occupy it if the TCN fails to rescind its order that disconnected the Aba Power Limited from the national grid.
“Despite the unfavourable operating environment in the country which has gravely impacted our customers’ ability to pay their bills, Aba Power, paid N120m to the Market Operator last Friday, so as to reconnect it to the grid immediately,” the company said.
Aba Power took effective control of the Aba Ringfence servicing nine local government areas in Abia State last September and said it has paid N440 million to Federal Government agencies in the power sector in the last six months.
“This is the first and only time in Nigeria’s history that an entire area serviced by an electricity distribution company has been cut off from the grid, with all the far-reaching socioeconomic and security implications for the whole nation. In the case of other DisCos, not more than feeders would be put out for two or three days, despite owing billions of naira,” the company said.
The company called for support from all the stakeholders. “We need individuals and communities to guard power infrastructure in their localities and report any suspicious act of vandalism to us or to any security agency. We constantly lose expensive machines, equipment, and materials to thieves.
“We also need electricity consumers to pay their bills as and when due. When we generate revenue from customers who pay for power consumed, we will be able to discharge our obligations to not just electricity providers like the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd but also government agencies like the Transmission Company of Nigeria. As a result, we will be able to avoid experiences like cutting off people and businesses in the Aba Ring fence from the national grid,” the company said.
It said a situation where only 40 percent of businesses and individuals in the Aba Ringfence pay what they should is unacceptable. “Many electricity consumers bluntly refuse to pay for power consumed; some engage in meter bypassing; some others in other grave malpractices which can only make constant, quality and affordable power supply very difficult,” the company said.
Apart from Aba Power, the TCN had also removed the Kano and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) as well as APLE Electric Limited from the national grid because they breached the rules guiding the market.