At a landmark event last week, 47 community development associations (CDAs) in the Ibeshe Kingdom, Ikorodu signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Wavelength Limited, providers of integrated power solutions for an independent power plant (IPP).
Independent power plants in Nigeria are provided by non-public utility companies operating and investing in power generation facilities for the purpose of generation and sale of electricity.
Over two million people live in the 47 CDAs, which could best be described as a sleeping rural area with potential for significant economic growth given its proximity to both the Island and Mainland by water. But this development may have been stalling due to limited access to electricity. This probably explains the residents’ determination to change the narrative by approaching several independent power providers and finally settling for one.
The IPP will deploy an initial generating capacity of 7 megawatts (MW), which will be subsequently doubled to 14MW, then 21MW subject to feasibility studies and demand. It costs close to $1 million to generate 1 MW of electricity.
“We are tired of paying outrageous amounts of money that come with estimated billing without light. Some homes have only two or three old people living in them but they get electricity bills in thousands of naira,” Oba Richard Abayomi Ogunsanya, the Olubeshe of Ibeshe Kingdom said in an interview. “Anytime the distribution company gives light for a day or two, next thing they invade the communities for indiscriminate disconnections.”
The Oba insisted that the 47 joint CDAs have willingly decided to look elsewhere for reliable electricity supply and signing a memorandum of understanding is a clear demonstration of this resolve. “After three years of due diligence and search, we have settled for Wavelength Ltd because the company has been successful in deploying IPPs in other states.”
Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources, and has an installed generation of 12,522 MW of electric power from existing plants. But Africa’s largest economy struggles to generate 4, 000 MW daily, with attendant losses due to the inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure. The IPPs are part of a broader push to deal with this.
“This is Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company’s jurisdiction and we approach it from this perspective. We will first ascertain the debt owed IE by the communities and the metering gap, too. The signed MoU gives us an opportunity to discuss with IE; they are still in charge. We are here to complement their efforts, such that when IE does not supply power we will,” Moses Ajayi, chief technical director at Wavelength Ltd said.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission issues licenses to independent producers for the purpose of increased power generation in the country. Independent power projects are part of the Federal Government’s strategy to combat power shortage in the country.
“We have a track record of deploying mini-grids across Nigeria. We have projects in Abuja (the Federal Capital Territory), Bayelsa, Enugu, and Ogun States,” Oneal Oma Lajuwomi, MD/CEO Wavelength Ltd said. “When the paper works are ready we can start generating electricity within six months.”
The operational and maintenance cost of petrol generators for households, small, and medium businesses could be overcome for underserved communities in Nigeria with IPPs.