Lagos moves to bridge metering gap

Lagos State government on Wednesday said it would bridge the electricity meter gaps in the state through the promotion of indigenous manufacturing of the device.

Over 60 per cent of Lagosians are estimated to be unmetered due to unavailability and the high cost of meter acquisition. The state government is, therefore, leveraging bright local talents to design and produce affordable smart electricity meters.

To realise this, it launched the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020 through the state Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources and curated by Eko Innovation Centre.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the initiative marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the state’s plan towards improving access to electricity as it aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations targeted at achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.

The state said the front runners that will participate in the final hackathon design event slated for September 16 and 18, have emerged, adding that overall winner from each competing entries in hardware and software categories will be announced at the grand finale.

Five contenders each emerged from both categories of the competition, and the two winners will share the prize of N7million.

The state Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, said the initiative was expected to provide access to affordable smart meters for Lagosians to improve electricity supply, monitoring, and trust between electricity providers and end users while preventing revenue leakage, as programme.

“The initiative is expected to drive innovation and creativity while generating new interest in young people for the sector. Over the years, despite significant investments and resolutions along the electricity value chain, there remains a huge metering gap of over 60 per cent of electricity consumers in Lagos and Nigeria. This metering gap is what we are seeking to bridge through the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon.

In line with the objectives of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Administration to make Lagos a 21st century economy, we have identified the need to intervene and support the facilitation of effective metering across the state, to ensure the provision of reliable electricity for Lagosians and Nigerians in the long-term.”

The hackathon received 274 entries; 127 of which bid in hardware category, while 147 competed in software group. However only 65 hardware and software prototypes were submitted by applicants. The shortlisted five finalists from hardware category are Cosmo Automation, Smart Energy, Techwizard, Power Bit Cruchers and Gadozz Electricals, while the five software finalists are Vectorians, Zeena Platform, Magnitronics, Chosen Soft Tech and Gideon.

This initiative is aimed at providing affordable electricity meters to the populace by facilitating the design and production of meters that will accelerate efforts towards achieving improvement in energy distribution, monitoring and prevention of revenue leakage.

Advisory Board Member, Eko Innovation Centre, Mrs Doja Ekeruche, said 19 judges with expertise in the power and tech ecosystem participated in the shortlisting process that produced the finalists.

“We asked companies in the Energy and Tech ecosystem to nominate representatives to serve on the selection panel tasked with shortlisting the top five finalists from both hardware and software tracks to proceed to the final hackathon events.

“At the end of the shortlisting phase, a session was held with the judges to discuss the reviewing process, and an analytics team ranked the submissions by all judges to arrive at the top finalists.”

At the virtual launch, while stating his resolved to achieve SDG in Lagos, he added that the initiative “fits well within the six pillars of the development agenda of his administration (T.H.E.M.E.S), which includes driving technology-driven innovations to transform Lagos into a 21st century digital economy and Smart City. This Lagos Smart Meter Program is an important way for the Lagos Government to demonstrate its commitment to improving electricity access and reliability for Lagosians. We believe that adequate metering of Lagosians and in turn Nigerians, would increase willingness to pay for electricity, improve productivity and, more importantly, continue to improve the living conditions of our people.” he stated.

And, at the same ceremony held, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba stated in his keynote address that the local design and production of affordable meters would help transformthe power sector and the economy at large. He urged all stakeholders to support the initiative, stressing that getting access to electricity right in Lagos “is critical for access to electricity in the entire country, considering the state’s population and economic landscape.”

It was sponsored by Access Bank Plc, Egbin Power, Ikeja Electric Distribution Company,Mojec International, Eko Electric Distribution Company, MOMASElectricity Meters Manufacturing Company, ElSewedy Electric, Royal Power & Energy, Venture Garden Group, InfraCredit, Axxela Limited; and supported by The Lagos State Office of Innovation and Technology, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), Oracle, IBM, General Electric, Business Day and Accelerate TV.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.