By Lucas Ajanaku
The Lagos State government, at the weekend, took steps to bridge the deficit in smart meters gap in the state and across the country.
According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the electricity customer population stands at 7.48 million of which only 3.39million (45.3 per cent of the identified customer population) are metered, leaving the unmetered population – the metering gap – at 4.09 million customers.
But the state, through the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre, unveiled a Smart Meter Initiative tagged “The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020”.
Through the initiative, the state will leverage the availability of bright local talents to develop and produce affordable smart electricity meters for consumers. The initiative is expected to significantly reduce the revenue leakages in the sector and, ultimately, improve last-mile electricity supply.
Speaking during the virtual unveiling of the initiative, the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the launch marked a significant milestone in the implementation plan of the government towards improving access to electricity in the state and it is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the UN which aspires to drive universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.
He said increased electricity access is one of the priority mandates of his administration given its significance in ultimately driving economic development of the state to enable it achieve the objective of making state a 21st century economy.
He said: “This Lagos Smart Meter Initiative 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.
“Now, as we launch the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020, we call on all relevant stakeholders – electricity sector players, technology experts, investors, regulators – to support this worthy cause as we strive to ensure sustainable electricity for all in Lagos.”
In his keynote address, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba explained that local design and production of affordable meters will be transformational for the industry and the economy at large and therefore urged all to support it.
“Lagos is an important state in Nigeria in terms of size, economy and resources. With a population of over 20million and the fifth highest GDP in Africa, Lagos is by far the biggest economy in Nigeria. Therefore, getting access to electricity right in Lagos is critical for access to electricity in the entire country.
“Electricity is an essential service, and we need to ensure that the benefits of smart meters flow to everyone. I call on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support this innovative and impactful initiative– industry regulators, electricity sector players, technology experts, and fund providers.”