The Federal government of Nigeria has moved to resolve the long running dispute between the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and Geometrics Power Limited over the supply of electricity to Aba and Ariaria in Abia state.
Both companies signed a peace accord agreement in Abuja on Thurs¬day following negotiations brokered by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
Following the privatization of the power sector on November 1, 2013, both companies have been in dispute over the right to supply power to Aba and Ariaria.
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Prior to the privatization, the Federal Government had signed an agreement with Geometrics Power owned by former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, in which the company was given the exclusive right of supply electricity to Aba and Ariaria, a development which saw the construction of the Aba Power plant worth about $500 million.
But the ring fenced area also fell within the operational zone of the EEDC which was acquired by the Interstate Electric, owned by Sir Emeka Offor.
Speaking shortly after the agreement was signed, Fashola expressed optimism that the accord would lead to better power supply in the South East. The Minister explained that the new development was momentous for Nigeria’s power sector describing the decision of both parties to settle the dispute which was foist¬ed on them by government’s decision as a win-win for the people of Aba and Nigeria.
According to him, the negotiation was first brokered by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo who then handed it over to the ministry of power to continue with.
He said apart from parties in the dispute, several individuals including former military Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar and Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Louis Edozien played key roles in the negotiation and final outcome.
Fashola stated that with the formalisation of the negotiated agree¬ment, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would now be asked to amend the licenses of both Geometrics and Enugu Disco to reflect the agreements that were reached.
The agreement included Geo¬metrics getting back the ring-fenced units, as well as Enugu Disco buying the excess power that would be generated by the gas fired Aba Power plant.
He said: “Commonsense will make more meaning to the people of Aba, it will make more meaning to the traders in Ariaria, it will make more meaning to our goal to produce more made in Nigeria goods be¬cause I know what is possible in that place. I used to shop there, I used to do business there and I know they make suites, they make good shoes and so they need power. That is commonsense and that is what you have achieved today.
“Commonsense is also the realisation now that the electricity market is just beginning and many things will happen because there are many things that can happen that we have not even began. What has happened today is to show that within one Dis¬co, there can be two players and that is a ground breaking event today. There are many more blessing and more hopefully.”
According to him: “With this now, investments of over $500 million can come in there (Aba and Ariaria) and feel safe, they can expect to see power delivered within a few months down the line. More importantly, you will see peace more than victory and I think this is the way to go”