Lagos State Government is leading the pace in terms of providing street lights for its citizens.
The Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration has been able to power almost all the major street-lights in the state through the Light up Lagos project which was launched immediately he assumed office.
In a Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) round-table meeting with stakeholders, the Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olawale Oluwo, spoke about the finished projects and the ones still under development.
He highlighted that the present administration has been able to install 36,000 street lights and there is 10,000 street lights which would still be installed before the end of the administration.
The Commissioner also stressed that Nigeria generates just 4,000MV for a population of over 170 million compared to Egypt that generates 35,000 for 30 million people and South Africa which generates 50,000MV for 50 million people. He said Lagos alone is in need of 5,000MV which the country itself cannot produce for now.
He noted that the State has been generating power off the National grid and bypassing the transmission network.
“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. 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.”
Working with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Lagos has also generated 4.59MW of sustainable solar power and delivered to 172 public Secondary Schools and 11 Public Health Centres located within rural and riverine areas.
With the ‘Light up Lagos’ initiative, Oluwo assures that the state is looking forward to generate 3, 000MV of power in three to five years.
The light up Lagos project have been able to generate 752 job opportunities and its making Lagos state live up its billing as the Centre of Excellence in Nigeria in the Power sector and Africa fifth largest economy.
It’s a partnership of Shell Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO) with Lagos State.
The government is not resting on its oars as it wants to ensure that the State can boost of 24/7 uninterrupted power supply.
The Governor is said to have set up a “Light Up Lagos Power Advisory Committee” which is made up of Electricity Generating Companies (GENCOS), Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS), gas suppliers and key stakeholders and the senior level.
The power sector also comes with its own challenges which involves theft, bypassing meters and usage of power without payment.
The Distribution companies have complained about citizens using meters without paying and even connecting fires directly without usage of meter. The Discos have not been given the constitutional right, thus they have no power to address the issue themselves. Olotu however revealed that the companies had approached the state and a power theft bill was being prepared, with the involvement of the Discos, to curb power theft and ensure easy prosecution of offenders.
The Commissioner added that the bill would empower the state to set up a power task force, which would monitor power in Lagos, arrest offenders, and ensure prosecution, with the aid of mobile courts.
Soon, people will go to jail for power theft.