The Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre, have unveiled a Smart Meter Initiative tagged “The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020”.
This is in furtherance of the ongoing efforts to address the metering gap in Lagos, which will reduce the revenue leakages in the sector and ultimately improve last-mile electricity supply and forms a path towards improved Electricity in Lagos and Nigeria.
This new initiative was unveiled by the Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba along with other government officials from the Federal and State level at a virtual press conference held on Thursday July 30th 2020.
Through the initiative, which is widely applauded as a game changer, the Lagos State Government will leverage the availability of bright local talents in Nigeria to develop and produce affordable smart electricity meters for consumers.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that the launch “marks a significant milestone in the implementation plan of the State Government towards improving access to electricity in the state and it is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the UN which aspires to drive universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.”
Sanwo-Olu explained that increased electricity access “is one of the priority mandates of his administration given its significance in ultimately driving economic development of the State to enable it achieve the objective of making Lagos a 21st century Economy.”
“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.” he said
He therefore called on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support the initiative which is aimed at striving to ensure sustainable electricity for all in Lagos.
In his keynote address, Hon Minister, Jedy-Agba, explained that local design and production of affordable meters would be transformed for the industry and the economy at large and therefore urged all to support it.
He stated that Lagos is an important state in Nigeria in terms of size, economy and resources, with a population of over 20million and the 5th highest GDP in Africa, hence getting access to electricity right in Lagos is critical for access to electricity in the entire country.
According to him “Electricity is an essential service, and we need to ensure that the benefits of smart meters flow to everyone. I call on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support this innovative and impactful initiative– industry regulators, electricity sector players, technology experts, and fund providers.”
Similarly, the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote said the initiative “is expected to provide access to affordable smart meters for Lagosians to improve electricity supply, monitoring, and trust between electricity providers and end users while preventing revenue leakage. It is also expected to drive innovation and creativity while generating new interest in young people for the sector.”
According to Mr. 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.
“In line with the objectives of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Administration to make Lagos a 21st century economy, we have 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.”
Call for application
In her own contribution, an Advisory Board Member, Eko Innovation Centre, Mrs. Doja Ekeruche, 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.
All concepts according to her would be assessed based on strict but transparent criteria to identify the most viable concepts proceeding to the next stage.
Everuche stressed further that, “Judges with knowledge and expertise within power and tech ecosystem will review the entries and shortlist teams to proceed to the hackathon event. Final Winners of the Hackathon, in both the hardware and software categories, will win N7million. 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 commercialization of the smart meter.”
Other participants at the event included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State – Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Innovation and Technology; other Commissioners, Special Advisers and Heads of Parastatals from the Governor Sanwo-Olu administration and key representatives from the Energy and Technology Industry, journalists and other stakeholders.