Lagos Plans to Generate 3,000 Megawatts off Grid

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 Ugo Aliogo

The Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, has expressed the commitment of the Lagos State Government to generate 3,000 megawatts off the grid, stating that they are working with regulators and stakeholders in the power sector to actualise this vision and ensure that they provide sufficient energy for Lagosians.

Oluwo who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at the Price Water Cooper (PWC) annual power and utilities roundtable, noted that the administration is highly focused on ensuring that between the next five to seven years, the state would be in a position to generate enough power for Lagosians without depending on Niger-Delta gas.
He explained that in actualising the 3,000 megawatts, they are looking at bringing the conventional fossil fuel energy, while also focusing on renewable energy, “but not all the renewable particularly for solar, because we don’t have the space for extensive solar installation. Therefore we must go for those that will optimise the land size that we have.”

Oluwo stated that they are also considering the wind option with the embed power plants, adding that the regulators are aware that the pricing available for power is not cost reflective, therefore they may be willing to increase the tariff at this time, however they have to accept the willing buyer and seller option.

In his remarks, the Chief Financial Officer, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Aigbe Olotu, stated that embed power is required, because of the current energy deficit the country is facing, stressing that in the citing of the power plant, measures must be taken to ensure that they are at close proximity to the potential users of that energy, and avoid transmission losses.

He further stated that with reference to metering, most Distribution Companies (Discos) have a three to five year plan to cover the existing metering gap of their customer base, adding that what this implies is that during the period they have offered to meter their customers, “the implication is that some persons will not be metered until the end of the programme, so such customers will remain on estimated billing.”

He added: “Most Discos are ready because they have the distribution capacity that are quite in excess of the amount of power they get from the national grid, so they already have the installed capacity to generate any amount of power that is provided by embed power generators.

“Embed power generation is not the long term solution to deal with the power deficit particularly, in urban environment such as Lagos. Embed power generation can only be required for remote location that cannot be effectively served from the grid.

“In Lagos, presently, whatever power generation that the grid can provide will depend on two factors: The location and the potential customers, because they have to identify the clusters of the areas where embed power plan can be located and they can be transmitted comfortably to the ultimate consumers.

“Though we have a metering programme, but it is not a plan that allows all customers to be metered the same day, customers will be metered over a period of time. So during that period, customers that are yet to be metered, will be billed based on estimated technology as recommended by NEC.

“There are different models in dealing with the funding gaps that are been considered, it is not shifting the funding responsibility to customers, but trying to create a model that will bring about a win-win situation for both the Discos and the consumers. The ultimatum solution is one which will allow a willing customer to decide to invest in buying his own computer and refund at a reasonable interest rate will be made to him through energy discounts over time.

“But it is for willing customers, if that happens it will accelerate the rate of metering which the distribution companies will focus on customers who are unwilling or unable to fund the immediate supply of their metering. Most of the discos have a metering plan, the network can be structured into different blocks, and there is an existing timetable for each block to be metered.”