Alhaji Idris Mohammed is the former Managing Director of the Kaduna Electric Distribution Company (KADECO) and founder and Chief Executive Officer of Consultancy Dell’Amore International Limited, the authorised country partner for the EnergyNet Limited of United Kingdom. He was a guest speaker at the just-concluded 6th Powering Africa Nigeria Summit, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, where he spoke with journalists on the impacts of the Nigeria’s Power Sector Recovery Plan and solutions to power problems in Nigeria. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of this summit and what is it that made it different from previous ones?
This year’s summit is significant for many reasons, during the last Powering Africa Summit held in Washington DC, United States, in March this year, there was a letter of attention by investors for the Nigeria’s electricity market; and the interest generated by the international investors in the message was so impressive to the extent that a special dinner was organised for first-class investors, who really want to invest in Nigeria’s electricity market, to have a one-on-one discussion with them and to give them useful information about the market. It was apparent that investors wanted certain issues to be addressed and once those issues were resolved, they promised to patronise Nigeria’s electricity market. So when we came back to Nigeria, around July, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, announced to the world that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved a sum of N701 billion for the Power Sector Recovery Plan (PSRP). When it was approved, we were delighted; we in EnergyNet and Dell’Amore, because we knew that the 6th Powering Africa Nigeria will take place in October and that gave us the opportunity to reach out to investors and invite them to attend this summit, because the minister was so desirous and interested in ensuring that the Nigeria’s electricity sector is active and patronised by international investors, and fortunately, the Power Sector Recovery Plan was structured to have addressed the challenges in the Nigeria’s electricity market for investors. So, ours is to promote the recovery plan through this year theme: ‘Power Sector Recovery Programme: Recapitalising Nigeria’s Energy Sector’, by addressing the most recent updates with regards to the PSRP and the Electricity Reform Act. And while preparing for the summit, we were able to reach out to stakeholders in the Nigeria’s electricity market, including government’s representatives, the national assembly, private power generators and investors from within and outside the country. And it was so encouraging, you can see from the attendance of the important personalities that graced the event. Because investors are looking for a way of investing in the our electricity market especially in the area of solar and renewable energy.
Why solar and renewable energy?
Solar power has the best and reliable home solution system. That is why we conducted the summit. For us in Dell’Amore, this marks the beginning of consolidation of our franchise with EnergyNet Limited, so our partnership is quite exciting and flourishing and our ability to involve the government, stakeholders and investors to collaborate with us is very interesting and we believe that homes in Nigeria as well as industrial and rural areas will soon enjoy solar power system in the next three to four years. You will see solar power being patronised even by the manufacturers. In city centres, you can see that a lot of homes are now installing solar panels in their homes as an alternative. Instead of using generators, Nigerians now prefer solar power, because of the cost of fueling and maintaining generator is very expensive, while the cost of solar power is cheap and affordable.
The EnergyNet and Dell’Amore’s partnership seems to be working and adding value to the energy sector in Nigeria. In what areas do you think government can come in terms of financing?
What we majorly do in EnergyNet and Dell’Almore is to bring in investors, who have solutions to Nigeria’s electricity and power supply problems, and once investors are on ground and those problems are solved, and the solutions are reliable and sustainable. Ours is to promote such business ventures, recommend them to the government and by doing that, we believe we are contributing to the development and availability of power supply in Nigeria. So when government creates enabling and peaceful environment, we facilitate discussions between the government, the stakeholders and investors. We are at the centre, we also appreciate the fact that our efforts are noticed and appreciated and you can see what happened today.
What do you think you can do to ensure that Mini Grid and Small Hydro plants are maintained and sustained.
For the mini grid in solar system, we have no problem over that, because it is a household name all over the world. But for the mini grid in hydro, those are a bit more difficult, for the reason that you have to look for a reliable source of water supply and if you have to rely on artificial source of water, you have to drill a borehole, which must have an industrial capacity, and it must continue ceaselessly to be able power the plant. So for solar, it is sustainable, but for the hydro, it is the availability of water that determines steady power supply. But luckily for us in most of hydro plants, we have strong availability of water. But solar is the best.
It is a known fact that you give suggestions and advise to the government on power issue; does the government make use of them, considering frequent changes in government, policy formulations among others?
I can say boldly that most of the constructive suggestions that we gave to the government have been adopted. For instance, on the power sector recovery plan, we did not envisage that the Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola, was seriously working on home-grown solution that will provide alternative power supply. The investors confronted us in March, whereas, we did not know, when we came back that the leader of that delegation was also the chairman, House Committee on Power, who represented the Senate President, during today’s event. So, when he came back, he made a presentation to the Senate Committee on Power at the National Assembly and it was obvious that if those solutions are implemented, more investors will come to Nigeria and luckily, the minister had already conceived that solution and presented it to the FEC and it was graciously approved.
What should Nigerians expect after this Powering Africa Nigeria summit?
Nigerians should expect more investment opportunities in the power sector, business for unemployment graduates, who have done exploits in the area of renewable energy. They should come and register with solution providers and present their proposals, they will be supported. They can bring their own workable plan and get commission. They can also go out to look for market and meet with the solution providers, and get registered as sales agents, depending on the numbers of clients they have, the more client they have the high the commission.
How cheap is this home solution. Do you think it is affordable to the common man?
It is affordable and reliable. With N2,500 only, you will get a home solution that can power six bulbs, fan, television and charge phones. It depends on what you want. But with N2,500 you will have a steady power supply for at least 10 hours, from 6am to 6pm daily, that is 12 hours daily and you can even get more than that.