…As LASG prepares 3,000mw off-grid power
07 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Lagos State government has warned electricity consumers who by-pass allotted electricity metres in the state to desist from the act or face imprisonment.
The Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo who stated this at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Power and Utility roundtable in Lagos recently said a power theft bill is being prepared by the state.
“One of the major problems with power generation in Nigeria is theft. Distribution companies are complaining all over the country about the citizens bypassing meters and using power without payment.
“The Discos do not have the constitutional rights to prosecute power theft, hence the crime is bound to continue. 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,” Oluwo said.
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 adding that: “Soon, people will go to jail for power theft.”
Commenting on alternatives to the nation’s weak power grid supply, Oluwo disclosed that Lagos is planning a 3,000-megawatt off-grid power generation in the next three to seven years.
“The state is looking to generate 3,000MW of power in three to seven years,” he said, stressing that the demand for power in Lagos state is up to 5,000MW, which Nigeria cannot produce at this time.
“The wheeling capacity of the (national) grid is very weak because the transmission infrastructure is old, dilapidated and susceptible to frequent breakdown. It is not a smart grid.
In Lagos state, we are seeking means of generating power that is “exclusive of national grid and bypasses the transmission network”
Mr. Oluwo lamented that the nation’s constitution has prevented many states from generating power but explained how Lagos has continued to generate off-grid power.
“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,” he said.
“So, Lagos has had to be creative in finding a solution which necessitated 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, delivered to 172 public Secondary Schools and 11 Public Health centres located within rural and riverine areas,” he added.
Oluwo also stated that the state, under the leadership of Governor Akinwuunmi Ambode, is working on “embedded power”, which seeks “to ensure 24 hours a day power within Lagos”.
He said the governor had set up a ‘Light Up Lagos Power Advisory Committee’, which “is made up of Gencos, the two Discos, Gas suppliers and other key stakeholders at senior level”.
He adds that the findings by committee “necessitated the need to birth a technical committee which has been working for months now on all technical aspects to achieve a sustainable solution to the energy demand exclusively for Lagos”.