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Cross River shuts down power plant three days after commissioning

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Ben Ayade

Barely three days of test transmission, the 23 megawatts Calabar Power Plant has been shut down raising the fears of its reliability.

Governor Ben Ayade had on Friday commissioned the project with the promise of a steady power supply to the state, saying it was a fulfillment of a dream.

He said: “Today I am excited because it is the first time we are evacuating power to the public. My office has enjoyed a steady power supply since the evacuation of power started.

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“So interestingly, Calabar will be the first city to have uninterrupted power supply even as we get ready to commission our Calabar Smart City project that will also make it the first smart city in the country.”

However, the diesel-driven 23 megawatts power plant on test run to evacuate power to the governor’s office, the state Water Board, Calabar Industrial Park, 8 Miles, Akai Efa, State Housing Estate, as well as powering all the street lights in the Calabar metropolis, on Sunday stopped working raising speculations that the turbines were refurbished and not good enough for a sustainable power supply.

The Guardian had observed that even before the shutdown, most parts of Calabar still suffered from the epileptic power supply with no significant impact from the power plant. However, most streetlights enjoyed the new plant on the first day of commissioning.

The state Chairman of African Action Congress (AAC), Mr. Agba Jalingo, said: “I joined them in celebrating this ‘achievement’ but I remain doubtful about the future and sustainability for varied reasons. My reservation about this project is the major environmental impact of diesel generators.

“The plant will be difficult and expensive to run due to fuel scarcity in the future and those generators are also allegedly old and not new. What is the guarantee of their lifespan?”

Meanwhile, the state government has confirmed the shut down of the plant.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, said: “The Cross River State Government wishes to inform the general public that the cut in power supply from the 23 megawatts Calabar Power plant in the last 24 hours to the Calabar metropolis is due to a fire outbreak at the Marian market, which affected some transmission cables.

“The power plant had to be shut down to minimise damage caused by the inferno.

“A team of engineers is currently working round the clock to fix the problem. Power will be restored as soon as this is done. Government regrets the inconveniences this has caused residents of the metropolis.”


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