Hopes of restoring electricity to Abia State were dashed when the Market Operating Unit of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) failed to reconnect the Aba Power Electric Company to the national grid over the weekend. The expectation was heightened when Aba Power paid N120 million to the market operator, which is part of the N896 million owed by the distribution firm to government agencies in the power sector.
Anonymous sources close to both TCN and Aba Power confirmed that top officials of the organizations held a series of meetings in Abuja last week where they reached an agreement on a payment schedule, under which Aba Power would pay an initial N120 million to be reconnected to the national grid. The sources further confirmed that the payment was made on Friday morning. However, the reconnection did not occur.
The news of the payment had given hope to Abia people, especially manufacturers, real estate investors, and other stakeholders, who had expected to have light during the weekend after a week-long blackout.
The Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association called on the TCN to reconnect Aba Power within 24 hours or they would shut down the Federal Government-owned Alaoji Power Plant on the outskirts of Aba, which supplies electricity to the Southeast and South-south regions.
Nine distribution companies and four generation companies, including Aba Power, plus the Ajaokuta Steel Complex Company in Kogi State, have been threatened with punishment for owing federal agencies in the power sector. However, the TCN has only removed three feeders out of at least 60 at the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, whereas Aba Power has been completely shut down for over a week, despite owing far lower than any GenCo or DisCo.
The Managing Director of Aba Power, Patrick Umeh, expressed surprise that the TCN had continued to throw Abia State into darkness, despite Aba Power paying “a significant amount at a particularly difficult time in Nigeria.” He warned that the current situation would affect Aba Power’s ability to meet its obligations to the TCN and other power sector participants, and called on the TCN to reconsider its position.