Electricity Challenges:  Y’ello Box to the Rescue


The partnership between MTN and Lumos Mobile Electricity Service to provide uninterrupted electricity to Nigerians could be a sure way to address Nigeria’s perennial electricity challenges, writes Emma Okonji

Since the introduction of the Y’ello Box initiative by MTN Nigeria and Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, early this year, the initiative has helped to power homes, offices, and business centres, with 24/7 electricity supply. The Y’ello Box has also helped many homes and businesses to address epileptic power supply across the country.

The service, which comes with full electricity supply for Nigerians, is already transforming lives in the country.

The Y’ello Box is a solar electricity system that was officially launched earlier this year and allows families and business owners to harness the power of the sun cheaply and efficiently.

In homes, clinics, schools and businesses across Nigeria, people are running fans, charging phones, watching television and lighting rooms, all using affordable, reliable, clean electricity. The Y’ello Box is already powering the lives and businesses of more than one hundred thousand Nigerians, according to Lumos Mobile Electricity, the driver of the initiative.

The power of Y’ello Box

Designed and operated by Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, the Y’ello Box provides electricity to customers 24 hours a day, and seven days in a week, by using the MTN mobile phone.

According to Lumos, it has proved itself to be the most reliable and affordable service in the market. The Chief Executive  Officer (CEO), Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “People don’t have access to the power they need. Fuel is very expensive and other services are unreliable. The Y’ello Box saves customers money all while providing better and more reliable electricity. As Nigeria modernises, our demand for power increases. It is high time we did more to harness the power of the sun. That is why the Y’ello Box is changing so many lives. It is affordable, it is reliable and paying by mobile phone makes it easy.”

According to him, “Lumos is growing rapidly across Nigeria, as we invest more money, create business opportunities for Nigerians and employ more and more people. Equally important is the fact that the service is improving the everyday operations of community centres like schools, health clinics and religious institutions.”


The Commitment

Working in partnership with MTN and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States (US) Government, Lumos said it has committed over $80 million for the deployment of its solar-based electricity in Nigeria, half of which has already been invested.

“In Nigeria Lumos employs more than 450 people, including technicians, engineers and a large sales force. There are ambitious plans to grow and provide power to one million Nigerians by the end of 2017,” Tsitrinbaum said.



The partnership

Lumos and MTN have partnered to offer clean, affordable solar power to a market of 1.3 billion potential customers who live within and off the electricity grid areas.

Lumos and MTN believe that everyone has the right to enjoy better quality of life and we are proud to provide access to clean and affordable energy for our customers all over Africa and the world.

The partnership deal enables people to replace hazardous and expensive fuel generators and kerosene lanterns with modern solar electricity that can power lights, cell-phones, fans, computers, TVs and other small electronic devices, all at once, 24 hours and for every day.

By offering solar power as a service, Lumos and MTN provide homes and small businesses with a smart, simple and affordable way to pay for electricity in small installments using their mobile phones.



Connectivity and accessibility

Speaking on how Nigerians can get connected to Y’ello Box and have full access to electricity, the Marketing Manager, Lumos Nigeria, Mr. Franklyn Okotie, said: “Currently the product is accessible for acquisition at designated MTN Stores across the country. As at today, joining the service requires a setup fee of N26,000 and a monthly subscription fee of about N 4,500. Our customers can power compatible AC devices, and connect appliances (up to 60 w) they already have at their home and business.”


Service terms

With as low as N26,000 initial payment and a monthly subscription of N4,500, a customer can get connected to the Y’ello Box with full electricity supply.

Customers are required to pay a one-time commitment/set-up fee of N26, 000 only, but payments for the service need to be made monthly via your mobile phone. Customers will purchase the payment plans, which have eight packages, by sending a simple SMS to 317.

Every month, a minimum of 20 days must be paid for, whether the customer uses the system or not. After 1,800 paid days and five years have elapsed, the system will automatically unlock and the customer will become the owner enjoying 24/7 electricity – absolutely free.

In the area of repair and maintenance services, Lumos will provide repairs and support service for the system for five years ensuring that the customer has 24/7 electricity all year round.

How it works

Lumos Mobile Electricity Service provides safe, reliable, affordable and clean solar electricity. It enables customers to substitute kerosene, candles and generator with modern green electricity to power lighting, cell phone charging, laptops, fans, radios and even televisions and many other small appliances– all together, every day.

It operates with solar energy and comes with solar panel. The solar panel converts sunlight into electricity that is stored in the indoor unit. The system requires at least six hours of direct sunlight on the solar panel to charge the system to 100 per cent. This electricity can be used day and night to power lights, mobile phones, fan and other small electronic devices.



Huge benefits

Speaking on the benefits, Okotie said the Y’ello Box electricity supply was designed to give peace of mind to all its users, since they will have uninterrupted power supply 24/7.

It replaces fuel, engine oil, kerosene and batteries with a modern 24/7 solar electricity that is reliable consistent and available. It eliminates smoke, dirt and danger of generators and kerosene lamps, as it comes with fumeless, noiseless and safe electricity.



Even as attractive as the Y’ello Box device is to customers, it, however, cannot work effectively with some domestic appliances that are not compatible with the Y’ello Box mobile electricity.

Some known devices that are incompatible with the Lumos mobile electricity are: air conditioners, water heaters, desktop computers, microwave ovens, electric cookers, refrigerators, ceiling fans, blenders, washing machines, and deep freezers.

Okotie explained that appliances that cannot be used with the Y’ello Box mobile electricity are devices that need more than 60W, 220V -240V AC current to power them.