Over 200,000 small businesses will enjoy 24 hours power delivery in the Federal Government’s Energising Economies Initiative (EEI) implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), starting with the completion of one of the pilot projects, the Sura Shopping Market Complex, BusinessDay learns.
The complex, which has 1,047 shops, has been metered and energised for 70 days since the project kicked-off, leading to the decommissioning of over 700 generators and a 15 percent increase in occupancy rate, the government agency said in a release.
While conducting journalists round the 1.5mw capacity Independent Power Project facility in Lagos Tuesday, Omotunde Hassan, head of operations at Solad Power Holdings who built the project, said the project include a 1mw backup so that even if the Island IPP goes off, the complex would still be powered.
“The intention is to build our power plant here, but there is no gas supply in this area so we built a transmission line from the Island IPP, which has 12mw,” Hassan said.
“We just have a bulk power purchase agreement with them, we take bulk power from them, break it and supply to customers here, Sura has a willing buyer and willing seller agreement with us,” Hassan said.
The EEI aims to support the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions to MSMEs within economic clusters (such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural/industrial clusters) through private sector developers.
Damilola Ogunbiyi, manging director of REA in a recent press conference, said these off-grid solutions arose to find a solution to the challenge of inadequate power, which was haemorrhaging small businesses in Nigeria.
The project will be executed in Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos, Sabon Gari Market in Kano and Ariaria Market in Abia State. The customers buy power at N50 per kilowatt-hour rather than N32 Discos are compelled to sell.
The projects are constructed by the private sector with the government agency merely providing enabling environment, says Ayang Ogbe, director of promotions at the REA.
Bunmi Anne Ajayi, managing director/CEO of Lusanna Apparels who specialises in making the school uniforms for children and also the chairman of the Market Association said the project at first sounded too good to be true, but since it was installed for the past two months, they are faring better.
“In the past when you come into Sura, you are confronted with air and noise pollution because we switch on our individual generators, in my company we have two generators, now we are looking for people to buy our generators,” said Ajaye.
“If you add the cost of fuelling and generator maintenance, securing diesel, you will be looking at tariff of over N120 per kilowatt hour but now our productivity has grown, we hire more people. We used to have 32 staff members at the beginning of this year, now we are 50, now the constraint is space,”
Sura shopping Complex comprises eleven different businesses ranging from printing and branding to financial services, equipment maintenance, catering and tailoring services.