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Ondo South blackout: Hope rises as FG commissions power project

By Fatima Muraina & Kayode Olabanji, Okitipupa

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Hope that an end to total blackout being experienced by the people of Ondo South Senatorial District will become history brightens as the Federal Government will today commission the N8.1billion Erinje electricity project, The Hope has gathered.

The people of the affected towns and communities in the Southern Senatorial District of the state have been grappling with total darkness for the past 15 years.

Ahead of the inauguration, The Hope gathered that officials of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) were seen replacing damaged electricity accessories on the major roads of Okitipupa, the headquarters of Okitipupa local government.

Some residents who spoke with our correspondent in Okitipupa expressed satisfaction with the ongoing project, while others are now clamoring for the urgent fixing of cables and transformers in their respective communities.

A visibly elated  community leader, Mr. Ibukun Obateru said there is high hope as the BEDC officials were seen replacing damaged poles and cables on some major roads, saying “this has made us believe that Okitipupa will be lit up again”.

The project represents a new dawn for the residents of Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje and Ese Odo and Odigbo local government areas, as it promises an enhanced quality of life and increased economic opportunities for the people.

The magnificent project, which cost a substantial N8.1 billion includes several key components:

Including a 45km 132kV feeder line from the Omotosho Power Plant to Erinje

Two 60 MVA, 132/33kV transformers at the Erinje substation.

Rehabilitation of 33km of 33/11kV transmission lines from Okitipupa to Igbokoda, Ugbonla, and other Ilaje neighbouring communities.

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Construction of a 1km rigid pavement with drainage.

The Erinje power substation is specifically designed to serve five local government areas in the oil-producing belt of the state. This region has been grappling with total darkness for the past 15 years, making this project a significant milestone in restoring electricity to the communities.

Speaking with The Hope on the planned commissioning, the Ondo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Razaq Obe, said the project will be a boost for investors to improve the economy of the benefitting communities in the Southern senatorial districts and Ondo state in general.

He said there are many benefits to derive from the electricity project apart from the supply of electricity because energy is everything.

“Industries will spring up. People will now have a predictable pattern of energy availability with which they can build their business, and that will mean economic cumulation in the entire Ondo South corridors.

“Businesses that are not present in the region will begin to go there because they know that they have power to do their businesses. It means a lot to the students who can now read, it means a lot to market women that can extend their work hours.

“Hospitals will function better, doctors can hold their surgeries at any time and the cost of energy will reduce. The impact is multi dimensional, far reaching and transformational’, Obe explained.

Describing the development as a new dawn, the Commissioner added that the substation is going to bring power from Omotosho for reliable power for the first time in over a decade.

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According to him the electricity is a huge achievement for the Federal Government, NEDC, and for Ondo State which has played the role, working with all stakeholders to bring the project into reality.

He explained the state is also distributing meters to the people in the Southern part because the area has been marked for low collection.

“This time we want to ensure that every household connected has a meter so that there won’t be an issue of overbilling or unnecessary estimated bills,” he stressed

While disclosing that over 100 communities in Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Irele and part of Odigbo covering the entire Ondo South will be befitting, Obe said some few places will have light immediately once the place is energised after the commissioning.

“Once the power is available, distribution is the next leg where you have BEDC which has been spending a lot of money, and the state government too working seriously, buying transformers and replacing  bad electricity poles and installing conductors, doing the redistribution and extension”, he stressed.

This, he said would continue until the power is installed to avoid any form of vandalization so that power can be supplied to all locations. 

The Commissioner, who observed that criminals invade to vandalize poles, conductors and transformers being installed , particularly charged the benefiting communities to always protect critical infrastructure and assets to serve their purpose.

He also added that people must know that sustaining the power they are going to get is a function of the way they handle it, protecting it for sustainability, or back to blackout if allowed to be vandalized.

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Ondo South blackout: Hope rises as FG commissions power project

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