By Okwo Kerry
The Director General, Cross River State Electrification Agency, CRS-SEA, Mrs. Rosemary Atsu-Arop, Esq. has said that about 185 communities in the state have been conveniently hooked up to power supply from the national grid.
Mrs. Atsu-Arop who revealed this while briefing journalists in her office recently added that, “The ones left are those with very poor accessibility, before we embark on any electrification project there are certain criteria we take into consideration;
“we look at the viability of the community, it shouldn’t be less than 200 homes, we take into consideration the economic viability of the place, we also take into consideration the T-F point which shouldn’t take more than 7km before we can consider giving that community electricity infrastructure”.
The agency which according to her has been in existence since 2007 is established by an enabling law number 18 and has the following mandate: “To make sure that most of the communities in Cross River State are electrified that’s in terms of hooking up to the national grid; that is for those communities that can be hooked up to the national grid.
“For those that cannot be hooked up, renewable energy (solar and hydro) is been contemplated which evidently has been working in some communities across the state. Also, our terms of office is to make sure the existing electricity infrastructures in the state are maintained.
“Our major challenge has been lack of man power, I have over stretched my personnel’s. Another is bad terrain, most of the communities we have embarked upon accessibility is a problem because it is difficult to convey our materials to the place and also bad weather, that is heavy rain and finances is another which has not allowed optimal projects to be completed, like the 2013 projects which we rolled over to 2014 now to 2015 have not been completed: for now only 30% of these projects have been completed in the central and northern senatorial district but in the south the work done is about 50%.”, the SEA DG asserted”.
Other challenges include, “Not having some materials like transformers handy when needed in most cases. Another is vandalism mostly in Calabar South, when a transformer is replaced there before you know it they will vandalize it by either stealing the armored cable, drain the oil or people over loading it again”.
Explaining that, “Why we rolled over the project is because at a point His Excellency wanted us to complete the 2010 before embarking on others which we did successfully”.
Mrs. Rosemary ended by sharing her agency’s prospects for the incoming administration, “Our prospects for the incoming administration is to make sure that they continue from where we stopped like those communities not yet electrified, it is my wish that they do that so that others who have not had the opportunity to enjoy from the national grid will do so.
“Emphasis should be more on renewable energy because that is the new thing; most countries are now depending on renewable energy like solar and hydro, we can develop hydro source of electricity for those communities in the north and central with lots of rivers and streams”.
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