The Ondo State Government on Thursday flagged off the Ugbonla Solar Mini-grid Power Project in Ilaje Local Government Area, under the Phase 1 of the Ondo State Electricity Improvement and Access Scheme.
Mr. Tunji Ariyomo, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Utilities, said at the ceremony that construction of the hybrid solar mini-grid power plant was aimed at solving the power problem in Ugbonla.
Ariyomo noted that government embarked on the Coastal Off-grid Energy Access programme to ameliorate the suffering of the people in the southern senatorial district of the state. He said that the people were either never connected to, or had simply been cut off from the national grid for several years.
The special adviser called on the people of Ugbonla to join hands with the present administration in the state to make the project a success. According to him, fishermen and fish sellers can now look forward to using electricity powered cold-room and kiln to preserve or dry their fish.
He noted that the method of drying would make the fish safer for consumption and guarantee healthy living. Ariyomo said that Gov. Oluearotimi Akeredolu would continue to prioritise power supply to the people.
He said that was why the state had been vigorously partnering with the private investors in generating power for some off-grid clusters in the state. “We have done similar projects at Aboto, Igbobini, Gbagira, Ebute Ipare, and the gari processing SME cluster near Igbatoro in Akure North Local Government Area of the state.
“We know the importance of electricity to these isolated communities in Ondo South and how the lingering power failure has negatively affected their productivity and social life. “In the communities that we have completed the project, pupils and students can now study at night and this is having great impact on their academic performances.
“So, our people in Ugbonla will likewise experience many such positive impacts on their businesses,” he stated. He disclosed that the state government planned to inaugurate the project in the next two months when the power service provider is expected to have completed it. Mr. Ayo Ademilua, the Managing Director of A4 and T Power Company, the firm handling the project, assured the people that the Phase I of the project would be completed in August. Ademilua explained that Phase II of the project would commence after the phase I and estimation of the real-time power consumed by the town.
The traditional ruler of Ugbonla, Oba Mobolorunduro Ogunfeyimi, gave the assurance that the community would always cooperate with government in its developmental agenda. Ogunfeyimi, who is also the religious leader of the town, stated that the community donated the landed property being used by the power company for its facilities.
The monarch also said that the community had approached the naval base in the area for assistance in securing the power facilities. He further assured the power company of the readiness of his subjects to pay for power consumed as and when due. The royal father thanked the state government for embarking on the mini-grid project.