The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday received the Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, who was on a courtesy visit in company with an investor, Contec Global, who plans to construct a 10-megawatts power plant in the state.
Ortom in his introductory remark said that the planned power plant with construction cost estimated at $18 million would be dedicated to industrial layouts in Benue State so as to grow economic activities in the state.
In his response, the acting Chairman, Dr. Anthony Akah, mni, said that the Commission was ready to assist state Governors who intend to invest in the power sector to improve the volume of power available to Nigerians. He hinted of the Commission’s plan to have a meeting with the 36 State Governors on the investment opportunities in the sector.
He said that Ortom and his colleague State Governors should take interest in the ongoing consultations on mini-grid regulation which they could explore to provide electricity to areas in their states that are not connected to the grid or under served.
Akah assured Benue State Government, “There is regulatory guarantee on your investments. We will get some of our staff to work with your team and guide you through the technical and other requirement for the issuance of a licence.”Other areas of concern to the Commission, according to Akah, was the high incidence of violation of right of ways and accompanying construction and trading activities under transmission lines (high tension wires) that have led to many accidents in the power sector.
“Each time we have accident in the sector we feel we have lost one of our own. Most of these accidents are preventable and we hope we can work with state governments on how we can reduce accidents to the barest minimum,” Akah said.
He also solicited the Benue State Government assistance with the payment of ministries, department and agencies debt to the power sector, which he said was suffocating investors in the power sector. Governor Ortom, however, said that his state was up to date in the settlement of its utility bills.
However, the Project Coordinator, Mr. Shashi Mozumder, said that Contec Global was already working towards meeting some of the timelines with the award of certificate of occupancy for the project site, which according to him, was large enough to accommodate future expansion.
He said that the power plant will comprise of three units of General Electric 3.4megawatts turbines fuelled by gas transported with trucks from the oil fields some 300 kilometres away from the project site.
Dr. Usman Abba Arabi - Head, Public Affairs Department