By Emeka Ugwuanyi
Ahead of the commissioning in February 2024 of the 188megawatt Geometric Power plant in the Osisioma Industrial Area of Aba in Abia State, one of the most influential figures in Nigeria’s power sector has been speaking on how the integrated power project will make a fundamental difference in electricity supply.
Ben Caven, reputed to be the only person to have served at different times as the Executive Director in charge of Transmission, Generation, and Engineering divisions of the defunct Nigeria’s National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), told over 150 electrical and electronics students of Michael Okpara Federal University of Agriculture at Umudike, Umuahia in Abia State Tuesday that “Geometric Power will make a fundamental difference in electricity delivery because of its insistence on using world-class electricity infrastructure”.
According to him, all turbines installed at the power plant “are from General Electric, the world’s leader in electricity equipment manufacturing, despite the cost.
“Most other firms could have gone for less costly machines after all the customer revenue will be collected in the local naira currency”.
Caven, who is now the Managing Director of GPL, a member of the Geometric Power Group, told the visiting students who were on an excursion to Geometric Power Village to familiarise themselves with the machines and equipment in the group that four brand new power transformers have been installed and three old ones refurbished to ensure quality and constant power supply to nine of the 17 local government areas in Abia State serviced by Aba Power, which is also a member of the Geometric Power Group.
He disclosed that the tubular poles installed in the Aba electricity ringed fence are found only in a few world cities like Tokyo in Japan and San Francisco in the United States because they can withstand such natural calamities as earthquakes.
“Though our tubular poles are high so that they cannot easily be fouled by trees and vehicles which cause electricity blackouts,” said Caven who is widely considered Nigeria’s foremost power engineering guru, “each of them is buried about 10 metres in the ground at a tremendous cost to the company.”
He added: “We have also provided 150,000 kilometres of brand new overhead wires and cables in these LGAs.
“All the wires are from Nigerian indigenous companies like Cutix plc in Nnewi, Anambra State, and Coleman Company in Arepo, Ogun State, and we are proud to state that they are better than most wires and cables in the world”.
The electricity boss disclosed to the engineering students that Geometric Power has extended its promotion of Nigerian content in the Nigerian business to vehicle acquisition, noting that all the vehicles procured by the firm in the last two years were made in the country.
“I use an Innson truck myself, and it compares favourably with Hilux by Toyota”, he explained, “yet it costs a fraction of the Toyota product”.
The students were later conducted around Geometric Power premises by a team of electrical, mechanical and safety engineers led by Usman Zamdai, Eric Omianwele, Collin Ogbu, Ifeanyi Ogbodo, and Andrew Amaje.
The leader of the visiting students, Chimdi Ahamefule, expressed appreciation to Geometric Power for letting them access the state-of-the-art electricity facilities, saying “This is the most rewarding visit we have ever made”.
The electrical engineering lecturer who led the students, Gerald Diyoke, commended the company for providing world-class facilities to Aba and neighbouring communities despite the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
“We are confident that power outages and load shedding will become history in the area once the Geometric Power thermal plant is commissioned”, he stated.