By Christian Njoku
Calabar Mr Eyo Ekpo, an expert in electricity, says the 563 megawatts power plant in Cross River is under utilised.
Ekpo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Calabar.
Ekpo was reacting to comment by Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, on an alleged refusal of the Federal Government to grant the state licence for the generation and distribution of electricity from its newly constructed power plants.
He faulted the allegation on the grounds that the state did not need another power plant.
Ekpo, a former staff of General Electric (GE) said building a 21 megawatt power plant in Calabar was not necessary since the state had a 563 megawattd power plant in Odukpani lying fallow.
He said what the state should be concerned about was how to deploy the power and gas in the pipeline that went to the plant at Odukpani to all parts of the state.
According to him, the pipeline that carries gas to the power plant is also under utilised.
“We can sit down with industrialists and tell them to put up their structures and they will constantly be supplied with gas, we also have a metering company in Mfamosin close to the cement plant.
“The Federal Government is looking for ways to make sure that more gas is utilised, to boost the power and the industrial sector.
“This would have been one way to make use of the comparative advantage that Cross River has by virtue of having a power plant and a gas pipeline in the state.“
He said once the state began to make effective use of the power plant, it will ensure power in the cement factory, Mfamosin, the Cocoa factory, Ikom and the Rice mills, Ogoja.
According to him, other industries will also come into the state.
On the complaints of low availability and overloading of transformers in most parts of Calabar, Ekpo said that was not the fault of the state but the Port Harcout Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).
He, however, said the state government had a role to play.
“The state government has to ensure that whatever infrastructure is needed to ensure that power generated for Cross River is properly distributed is made available by the agencies responsible.
“The state needs to continue to put pressure on PHED to ensure that transformers are made available for the citizens to enjoy electricity.”
The National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) in Odukpani was built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Limited with the capacity to generate 563 megawatts of electricity (NAN).