Blackout Hits PH Timber Market


Operations at the Timber Market in Mile II area of Port Harcourt have been hampered by blackout following a recent damage on the transformer that supplies power to the area.

The power outage, which is running into its third week, also affects residents and business operators at Okwelle Street as both areas share the same transformer.

Mostly hit are the numerous wood mills in the market regarded as the major timber market serving the state.

Our reporter, who visited the market over the weekend, said most of the mills have suspended operations except few using their private generators in the mill business.

Mr Jacob Princewill, a mill operator, who spoke to The Tide said the poor power situation was frustrating their businesses, adding that because of the huge milling machines, the cost of purchasing  diesel leaves an operator with little or no profit to remain in business.

Mr Princewill, who disclosed that he had not operated his machine for the past five days, appealed to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to come to their rescue by repairing the transformer or providing additional transformer to power the market adequately.

According to him, the idea of sharing the same transformer with Okwelle Street leads to overloading the transformer beyond its capacity.

Because of the power situation, the cost of the mill services has increased. A cubic of wood which ordinarily cost N100.00 now cost between N130.00 and N150.00.

Chief Richard Steve, a resident of Okwelle Street also decried the electricity supply situation in the ,and called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to consider the area in its ongoing transformer donations in the region.

He maintained that the only lasting solution to the power problem is a provision of additional transformer to the area.

When contacted, PHCN’s Public Affairs Manager of Diobu Business Unit, Mr Herbert Ani referred our reporter to the business manager, and attempts to reach the manager could not yield any result as he was said not to be in his office.


Chris Oluoh