Dr Victor Udo is the new Managing Director of Ibom Power Company and Senior Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom State Governor on Power. In this interview with Correspondent Idongesit Ashameri in Uyo, Udo bears his mind on issues surrounding power supply in the state and country, the need to strengthen power lines, replace worn out transformers by PHEDCO, uninterrupted power generation by Ibom power company and how such effort is frustrated by weak distribution equipment. Excerpts: What are you doing to ensure steady power supply for Akwa Ibom?
What we did when I took over last month was to take a look at where things were and then work with the National Control Centre to make sure the plant was stabilised. They allowed us to run on what we call off grid; so all the power we produce now is used for the Akwa Ibom people, it is something that has not been done for a very long time, that is why we experience steady power supply these days.
The reason you don’t have uninterrupted power supply is because the distribution network is very poor and unhealthy, especially when we experience rain storm, the main 33 and 11kv feeders have not been maintained for a very long time so typically when we experience rain storm the distributions become very poor and the PHCD operators will turn off feeders and that is why you don’t have uninterrupted power supply. In terms of generation, for the last one month or so, we have had constant power generation from Ibom Power and I will like to give credit to the young men working there, they are all Akwa Ibom boys with may be one or two non-Akwa Ibomites.
I am very proud of what they are doing. We have given them a lot of incentives since we came in there, we make sure they are not owed salaries, whatever we have, we make sure that the staff are at least paid their dues. I will say that with that we have raised the morale of workers from near zero to something higher than 70 per cent because I believe the people are the most important assets that we have and as I said; they are our people and are doing a very great job.
I have given them challenges they never had before, I have made some changes in management to make sure the right people are doing the right things, I have given those who were denied the opportunity to excel. So they are very proud of that. This administration wants to make Ibom Power a flag ship; we were one of the first to dream of having an independent power supply producing company so we want to make it the best it can be.
I am sure that is why I was brought from the United States to make sure that happens. In Ibom Power, we have invested across the entire value chain; we have invested in gas, because if we don’t have gas, we are not going to have steady generation, we have invested in power plant, we’ve built 191 mega watt plant even though all are not functioning now, in a matter of time we are going to get all of them functioning. We have invested in transmission, when we came in there was no transmission line from where the grid is in Eket, we have also invested significantly more than any other state in distribution. The chances are that any village you go to at least you will see a transformer. That’s complement of the state government through the rural electrification. We have done also a lot of urban electrification through the Ministry of Works. This government has laid the right foundation; in terms of competency, the engineers from this office are always on the field even on public holidays, they are working hard. Where PHDC fails, our people are making sure that areas that were not having power are lighted up across the three senatorial districts of the state. We are doing a lot of other things; Ibom power is just a fraction of what my responsibilities are. We have had Ibom Power Company for closed to eight years now and this development of steady generation is just new.