STAKEHOLDERS in the power sector have commended a new power sector initiative called Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) by the federal government.
The Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) is a Federal Government initiative implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The project aims to support the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) within economic clusters (such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural/industrial clusters) through private sector developers.
Energizing Economies Initiative has already launched three pilot projects to electrify 50,000 shops in Sabon Gari Market (Kano State), Ariaria Market (Abia State) and Sura Shopping Complex (Lagos State).
EEI has another 13 markets in Phase 1 at various stages of development and construction across the country leveraging solar home solutions and gas-to-power.
Speaking to TribuneOnline on Tuesday at an inspection of newly installed 1.5 megawatts (MW) off-grid Independent Power Project at Sura Market in Lagos, the Chairman of Shop-Owners Association in Sura, Mrs Bunmi Ajayi, commended the Federal Government for such initiative which she described as timely for MSME’s survival in Nigeria.
According to her: “Beyond the supply of electricity, the issue of infrastructure key. Before the company came in here to tell us about the tariff and other plans, we have been grappling with darkness and inefficient billing system. And we realised there was no way out for us.
When asked to comment about the tariff since it is a private sector driven project, she stated thus: “if you look at the tariff by taking into consideration, generator repairs, fuelling of generators and getting security officials to ensure your diesel is not stolen, you will be talking of a tariff of N120/kw. With Eko Disco, we were paying N37.80/kw, but by the time you factor in the cost of diesel, security, pollution, generator, you will be paying over N120/kw.
“For instance, we paid N550,000 in January as the cost of electricity in my company, we can’t survive on such a model.”
She argued further that within a short period of the pilot scheme (two months), “You can ask around, businesses have grown tremendously due to the uninterrupted power supply. Before, I had about 30 staff members, but now we are close to 50 employees.
The only constraint now is space but if we have enough space, we will employ more hands. We are now allowed to do what we know how to do best which is job creation and wealth creation.”
In his comment, the Head of Operations, Solad Power Holding LLC, Omotunde Hassan, stated that “the plant gets supply from Marina Power Plant and sells to Sura Market shop owners based on the willing-buyer-willing-seller agreement. The company gets approval from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) under the EEI that allows us to sell power to Sua Market alone.”