Besides being the country’s commercial hub, Lagos is also the most populous state in the country. The state alone is home to around 60% of the Federation’s total industrial investment and foreign trade, while also attracting 65% of Nigeria’s business activity. If it was a country, Lagos would have been Africa’s fifth largest economy.

The instability of the electricity supply, however, poses a major threat to the state’s continued socio-economic ascendancy. As is the case with other states, Lagos depends entirely on the national grid for its electricity supply.

Through its two resident electricity distribution companies (Discos) – Eko and Ikeja – the State hardly receives around 1,000 MW for an average of 12 hours maximum per day, or 12,000 megawatt hours, MWh, for a population exceeding 25 million inhabitants.

According to research conducted by the Lagos State Electricity Board, LSEB, a few years ago, 15,000 MW of the country’s estimated 45,000 MW of alternative power was in Lagos State alone.

In 2020, 31% of households in Lagos are connected to the grid. This implies that currently 69% of households in Lagos are effectively off the grid. The implication of this is that a greater percentage of Lagosians depend on generators for their energy needs.

Curiously, if the 15,000 MW of capacity of the Lagosians generator set were available to them on the grid, they would save up to 5.2 trn per year on fuel costs alone!

As the state’s population and associated energy consumption levels continue to increase, it is important to create an environment conducive to the sustainable production and delivery of reliable energy to residents.

It thus becomes evident that Lagos cannot rely on the national grid alone for sustainable and long-term socio-economic growth and significant growth in the standard of living of its citizens. It is also clear that current estimates of unmet demand are grossly underestimated.

The state is currently witnessing the continuous flow of new residential, commercial and industrial developments and investments such as the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the Dangote Refinery, the Eko Atlantic Project, numerous housing projects and estates, among others. .

As it tries to manage its evolution to a 21st century economy, with the concomitant need to meet urban planning standards and meet the demand for various social amenities and economic opportunities, it has become clear that Lagos State must create an environment conducive to a unique environment. an electricity market that is separate (or outside) of the national electricity grid, but which is also connected to the latter.

There are a number of requirements that are critical to implementing a comprehensive solution that provides a clean, adequate and reliable supply of electricity across the geographic territory of the state and to all of its demographics / customers.

These include an enabling constitutional and legal framework; an integrated resource plan; an autonomous and credible regulator; a competitive and transparent supply of production resources and a bankable commercial framework.

Others are an independent network operator, well-funded and well-managed generation, transmission and distribution actors; and collaborative support for market growth / customer satisfaction by federal and state governments.

Without a doubt, new thinking on how best to provide reliable power to Lagosians is desirable. Characteristically, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration has developed a framework to address this glaring imbalance.

The Lagos State Electricity Policy will provide insight into the government’s thinking on the legal, technical and business frameworks needed to create a viable subnational power sector that is fully off the national grid but nonetheless fully meets the needs of its residents. citizens. . The policy should lead development towards a future where the security and sustainability of the electricity supply is ensured.

The policy will serve as a model for the vision to achieve universal access to electricity in the state and will also accelerate the “Light-up Lagos” initiative when it becomes operational. It will also serve as a major stimulus for the state’s social and economic development aspirations, in line with the government’s 30-year development plan (2021 – 2051) being developed.

The policy is therefore the result of a determination by the government that unless a conscious effort is made, the evolution of Lagos into a modern and inclusive city-state will be delayed to the point of overturning and socio-economic degeneration. . The Sanwo-Olu administration is ready to do everything to avoid such a fate.

The policy is to focus on significantly reducing emissions from back-up generators and promoting a natural gas market in Lagos through a transit program of the Lagos back-up generator set from distillate fuels to more gaseous fuels. clean.

It is also about establishing and implementing a sustainable program to provide access to electricity – at least 50 MW / 20 hours per day per year – to served and underserved areas of the state. Therefore, it is expected that by December 31, 2039, there will be reliable electricity availability in the Lagos power sector without general recourse to alternative generation capacity.

Recognizing that the provision of access to reliable electricity in Lagos cannot be achieved by government alone, key state stakeholders, the national and global community, especially industry experts and private investors , came together to provide solid responses to the consultation document.

The government’s determination to develop a strategic policy that will improve a stable supply of electricity in the state makes perfect sense. For example, a stable power supply will allow the state to unlock the possibilities of the economy beyond imagination. Small businesses in the state will undoubtedly prosper better if more creative programs are put in place to ensure unhindered power supply. Likewise, multinational companies that have closed shop in Lagos due to the epileptic nature of power might be attracted if the energy situation improves.

This would not only restore lost jobs, but also restore lost jobs. Likewise, a regular power supply will, without a doubt, lead to a much safer Lagos where every square inch is lit up at night. It is quite clear that our country would not be able to accelerate its socio-economic growth if concerted efforts are not made to develop creative initiatives that could confront and overcome the current situation of power.

As the most populous black country, we need to do more in the area of ​​adequate electricity generation and efficient distribution. The world’s top 20 countries like China, which is currently the world’s largest electricity producer, South Africa and Mexico, among others, produce more electricity than they demand.

For Lagos’ energy needs to be efficiently met, efforts must be made to ensure proper alignment of the entire value chain of power generation, transmission and distribution. Likewise, the development of an emergency power system, an increased partnership with the producers of independent power plants (IPP), the creation of the necessary institutional frameworks and the facilitation of an enabling environment would go a long way in accelerating the supply. of electricity to the State.

If formulated and implemented effectively, the electricity policy would help accelerate the socio-economic development and growth of the state, as an efficient supply of electricity is essential for achieving the vision of the government. Grand Lagos state government.

Given Lagos’ central role in Nigeria’s overall economic prosperity, it is essential that the state government continues to support new initiatives, ideas and visions that could improve the delivery of electricity in the state and, in turn, fact, the country as a whole.

* Ogunbiyi is from the Functionalities Unit of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos

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