In furtherance of efforts at addressing the electricity metering gap, Lagos State government, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre, has unveiled a smart meter initiative tagged “Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020”
The initiative targets the involvement of local tech hardware, software innovators towards the production of smart meters which will help to bridge existing 60 percent metering gap in the country, especially Lagos, which population is estimated at over 20 million people.
The initiative was unveiled by the Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu alongside minister of state for power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, at a virtual press conference on Thursday, July 30.
The government is seeking to leverage the availability of local talents in the country to develop and produce affordable smart electricity meters for consumers. The initiative is expected to significantly reduce the revenue leakages in the power sector and ultimately improve the last-mile electricity supply.
Speaking at the launch, Sanwo-Olu said this “marks a significant milestone in the implementation plan of the state government towards improving access to electricity in Lagos and in line with the sustainable development goal 7 (SDG) of the United Nations which aspires to drive universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.”
The governor observed that increased electricity access “is one of the priority mandates of his administration given its significance in ultimately driving the economic development of Nigeria’s largest commercial city.
“The 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,” said Sanwo-Olu.
The governor, therefore, called on relevant stakeholders – electricity sector players, technology experts, investors, and regulators to support “this worthy cause” as his administration strives to ensure sustainable electricity for all in Lagos.
Minister of the state for power, Jedy-Agba, explained that local design and production of affordable meters would be transformational for the industry and the economy at large, urging all to support it.
He stated further that Lagos “is an important state in Nigeria in terms of size, economy, and resources. With a population of over 20 million and the 5th 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.”
The minister, who described electricity as an essential service, said there was a need to ensure that the benefits of smart meters flow to everyone.
I call on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support the innovative and impactful initiative– industry regulators, electricity sector players, technology experts, and fund providers,” the minister said.
Lagos State Commissioner for energy and mineral resources, Olalere Odusote said that the initiative would enable access to affordable smart meters for Lagosians to improve electricity supply, monitoring, and trust between electricity providers and end-users while preventing revenue leakage.
He believed that the initiative would also drive innovation and creativity while generating new interest in young people for the sector.
According to Odusote, “over the years, despite significant investments and resolutions around power generation and distribution, there remains a huge metering gap of over 60 percent of electricity consumers in Lagos and Nigeria. This metering gap is what we are seeking to bridge through the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon.”
Odusote said that in line with the objectives of the Sanwo-Olu’s administration to make Lagos a 21st-century economy, his ministry has identified the need to intervene and support the facilitation of effective metering across the state, to ensure the provision of reliable electricity for Lagosians and Nigerians in the long-term.
In his remarks, Doja Ekeruche, advisory board member, Eko Innovation Centre, explained that a call for application had been sent out to local talents in the tech community to submit their proposed hardware and software solutions using the guidelines stipulated on the Lagos Smart Meter website. He said, “all concepts would be assessed based on strict but transparent criteria to identify the most viable concepts proceeding to the next stage.”
Everuche said that judges with knowledge and expertise within power and tech ecosystem would review the entries and shortlist teams to proceed to the Hackathon event, adding that final winners of the Hackathon, in both the hardware and software categories, will win N7 million.
They will also be a part of the co-creation phase with other experts, and then proceed to the production and testing stage before the full commercialisation of the smart meter.”