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Eastern Electric moves to take over Enugu Distribution Company

ENUGU—Eastern Electric Company, the reserve bidder for Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, has declared preparedness to pay $126 million for the takeover of the company which provides power to the South Eastern part of Nigeria.

The consortium’s willingness is contained in a statement issued, yesterday, by the communication consultant to Eastern Electric Ltd, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, following the inability of Interstate Electrics to pay the remaining 75 per cent of the bid price at the close of payment at 5pm Wednesday.

The consortium was formed by the five South East state governments; Nestoil , a major indigenous operator in the upstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry; Aba Power Ltd and Geometric Power Ltd, led by former Power Minister Bart Nnaji and Diamond Bank founding chairman Pascal Dozie.

Other members are NRECA of the United States which operates in Latin America, Pakistan, Sudan, Bangladesh and controls 10 per cent of the United States 1 million Megawatt grid amounting to some 100,000MW, and the NETGroup of South Africa which operated Tanzanian power and maintains a significant presence in South Africa’s electricity business.

“We have a robust and matchless combination of global best practices and the best experience of emerging economies.

“We shall not have difficulty raising the funds. The Bureau of Public Enterprises is still holding on to our $10 million bank bond raised when we were bidding for Enugu Disco.

“As all Nigerians must have known, the 141MW Aba integrated power project built by Geometric Power and which cost over $450 million is about to be commissioned,” Adinuba said.

It is unlikely that the Federal Government will change its position on non extension of the deadline for payment by preferred bidders. Bids last year by both the Dangote Group and Johnson-Arumeni’s Rockson Engineering which is handling a number of power projects for two generation companies for the government were rejected for submitting them five minutes late.

With the failure of Interstate Electrics to pay for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, the legal battle between Geometric Power and Interstate over the latter’s attempt to acquire Aba and Ariaria Market Business Units of the Power Holding Company, PHCN, as part of its assets may have been brought to a close.

Geometric Power Ltd sued the BPE over Interstate’s claim and Interstate requested to be in the suit as an interested party.

Geometric has been insisting that the two business units are excluded from the Enugu Distribution Company based on its 2005 agreement with the Federal Government and amended in 2006.

“The BPE showed all bidders this agreement before they made their bid,”disclosed the communication consultant.

“What is really at issue here is whether Nigeria has respect for the sanctity of   contracts, and this very agreement preceded the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform, ESPR, Act. We do believe that our is a country governed by the rule of law,” he said.


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