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Running Lagos mega city without power frustrating—Ambode

The Lagos State government has decried the challenge of running Lagos State as a mega city without power as very costly and discouraging.

In a paper presented at the 2016 PwC annual power & utility roundtable titled ‘Looking Beyond the Grid’ by the State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, he explained that the major challenge facing the state in terms of Energy is inadequate gas supply “due to vandalism of pipelines in the Niger-Delta”

While explaining that the state is now forced to look for alternative sources of gas supply to meet energy demands within the metropolis, he gave indication that the state will increase the volume of streetlights in the state by next year. He said coast of gas for streetlights in a year can by an estate.

Earlier, the special adviser to the State Governor on Oladeji Williams, said running a megacity without constant power has not been without its challenges

Williams who deliver a paper at the conference with titled, ‘Challenges of Running a Mega City Without Power-The Lagos Experience’, decried that Lagos feels the impact of poor power in all sectors.

He presented the lead paper on behalf of the Commissioner, Oluwo.

The Commissioner said “With a population of less than 30 million, Egypt generates 35,000MW, while South Africa generates about 50,000MW for a population of 50 million”.

“In comparison, Nigeria generates about 4,000MW for a population of over 170 million. Despite privatization and the enormous resources committed to the power sector it has continued to defy all proffered solutions the situation is compounded by recent vandalism of pipelines in the Niger Delta, huge technical and commercial losses across the value chain and as it were, the wheeling capacity of the grid is very weak because the transmission infrastructure is old, dilapidated and susceptible to frequent breakdown. It is not a smart grid.

“Current supply for Lagos is a far cry from the estimated demand of 5000MW making the topic I am here to speak on: CHALLENGES OF RUNNING A MEGA CITY WITHOUT POWER – THE LAGOS EXPERIENCE apt.

“As the commercial hub of Nigeria, we are a liveable melting pot and home to over 21 million people. These people rely on the government to provide or facilitate the development of essential utilities and efficient services in order for them to be productive in their daily endeavours.

“Running a megacity without constant power has not been without its challenges. In this current democratic dispensation (1999 to date), there has been a renaissance of sorts in Lagos. Lagos has aggressively forged a development path and created a model in its provision of social services. However, the much needed traction has not been fully realized due to lack of power.

Oluwo maintained that “Lagos has felt the impact of poor power in all sectors; inefficient public service, non-conducive learning environment in our academic institutions, poor health care delivery, long delays in processing at our courts, redundant waterworks, night time insecurity and difficulty commuting at night because our roads were dark are just a few in the myriad of challenges running a city without reliable power.

“Similarly, economic activities have been adversely affected. Multinationals, industries and small businesses trying to get return on investment are suffocated by huge overheads on account of poor power supply. The Lagos economy has lost significant industrial and commercial entities due to lack of energy and also have had some difficulty in attracting new investments because of power supply stakeholder’s inability to address this quagmire.

“In the Nigerian Constitution, power is on the exclusive list which means the state government has very limited control of power especially as it pertains to the national grid. So Lagos has had to be creative in finding a solution which necessitated in the development of the state’s captive power initiative. Captive Power is essentially energy that is generated with independent distribution developed for a sole consumer exclusive of national grid use.

“Through this, we successfully proved that government and private sector can collectively deliver on power within the local context. To date five Independent Captive Power Plants have been built and commissioned with an accumulated capacity of 47.5Megawatts of electricity which provides power to enable government deliver better services and free up power to the grid. These IPP’s power public facilities i.e offices, hospitals, water works, schools and public lighting.

“As part of our energy mix, the state has a laudable renewable energy partnership programme with the UK, Department for International Development (DFID) where dedicated solar power solutions have been implemented for public facilities. 4.59 MW of sustainable solar power has been delivered to 172 public Secondary Schools and 11 Public Health centres located within rural and riverine areas.

“With these power plants, the state government has been able to improve on its provision of social services. The public service has been more productive, health care facilities are now properly run using modern equipment, our wards are getting better access to quality education through a more conducive learning environment, we have a more efficient justice system, we can power our waterworks, we now have a 24/7 security command centre and our roads are illuminated at night through streetlights and public lighting, improving visibility and complementing security within the state.

“While Captive Independent Power Plant’s have been a success, we have not been able to achieve maximum coverage of public facilities. There remains a deficit that needs to be bridged in powering public facilities as well as providing constant power commercially across the state.

“For the state government, operating these IPP’s in recent times has had a tremendous impact on budget. Gas supply shortages due to vandalism of pipelines in the Niger-Delta has compounded budgetary and logistical challenges within the value chain.

“With our status as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, Lagos State has millions of homes and businesses within its borders with a huge demand for Energy.

“Nationally, the current power generated hovers around 4,000MW. Of which, a significant amount is lost in transmission and distribution. This is grossly inefficient and inadequate giving insight on the enormity of the challenge as well as the vast opportunities that abound within the sector,

“We have developed a wealth of practical experience in the gas to power value chain but, beyond powering our own facilities, the next level for the Ambode administration is to collaborate with stakeholders in the power sector towards achieving 24 hours power supply to the people of Lagos State.