Seven years after the acquisition and rebranding of the Egbin Power Station by Sahara Energy Group as Egbin Power Plc, the power generating company is taking the campaign of efficient energy utilisation a step further. Raheem Akingbolu reports
Across the length and breadth of the earth, energy is known to fuel most aspects of human activities. From heating to cooling to transportation and even production the list is endless of the many uses of fuel as a source of energy.
However in the midst of these multifarious benefits lie the environmental challenges that are mostly associated with the fossil fuels.
The release of toxic gases to the atmosphere and environment is a regular scenario and a permanent fixture of the process of any fuel exploitation and utilisation. The impact of this release over the years has been a great concern for most countries of the world which are worried by the twin issues of climate change and environmental degradation and defoliation and as a result are leading the campaign and revving up efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
According to a recent global report from International Energy Agency (IEA), these efforts may have paid off as most of carbon dioxide emissions were discovered to be over 5 percent lower in first quarter 2020 than in first quarter 2019 mainly due to a 8 per cent decline in emissions from coal, 4.5 per cent from oil and 2.3 per cent from natural gas.
Carbon dioxide emissions during this period fell more than energy demand as most carbon intensive fuels experienced the largest declines in demand during the first quarter of 2020.
As the world’s 17th biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015, the second in Africa after South Africa, Nigeria like the rest of the world can therefore not afford to be on the backfoot if it is to remain faithful to the Paris Agreement, a deal it ratified in 2017 to mitigate climate change and sustain the environment by reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent before 2030.
The country’s emission is expected to reach around 900 million tonnes by 2030, but with the pledge there is likelihood that the figures may be reduced to 720 million tonnes through actions meant to tackle climate change and perhaps try further to keep it down to 495 million tonnes with international support.
The enormity of this target may have been driven home in Nigeria as the country through a private initiative by Sahara Energy Group and its power generating arm,Egbin Power Plc recently ramped up the environmental sustainability campaign by investing in a state of the art electric buses and bicycles to support carbon emission reduction
Speaking at the media unveiling of the electric buggies and bicycles at the company’s premises in Ikorodu, Lagos, the Chairman, Tope Shonubi said environmental sustainability is a core of Egbin Power Plc’s energy utilisation policy as it tends to address the twin issues of climate change and environmental degradation which have adverse effects on the lives of the people.
“Today’s event is not an ordinary one as it is not just about today alone but most importantly about the future. It’s about the environment and even far beyond. It’s about the people and their healthy living and lifestyle .The environment to us is not just the physical environment as the people make part of the environment. Everything we do to us is the environment. In today’s world it’s all about sustainability and ensuring that the future is better than the present, the chairman said in his introduction”.
While calling for greater synergy and cooperation in the campaign for a safer, well protected and better secured environment, Shonubi noted that doing that would guarantee greater result in just little time.
“I must say that this environmental sustainability thing requires a collective effort. My advice is for everybody to come together because when we come together, there is a force, there is a movement. That’s the only way we can make that sustainable difference in our community, country, Africa and the world at large.”
He spoke further of the plans of the company to encourage the adoption of the newly launched electric cars and bicycles as a mode of transportation.
”For us, we are aware that one in every five Nigerians actually get power from Egbin or Omok or Afam. What we have come to realise is that charity begins at home. We must walk the talk .As we give energy we must be able to influence our customers. Imagine 40 million Nigerians getting to another 40 million people globally it is a multiplier effect but you must live the life before you preach the life so that is what this is all about.
“It is not just for us to say we are launching this set of buses and bicycles for our staff. We are starting here but we will project it through the distribution companies. When you get your electric bill we are going to talk about environmental sustainability. We want to help try save the earth as well as the environment, he said”.
The chairman disclosed that because the environment and health of the people are key priorities to the company explains why climate and environmental issues are not handled with kid gloves but rather put on the front burner.
The occasion which witnessed tree planting exercise by the chairman to reinforce the environmental sustainability campaign had other speakers give insights on other activities and efforts by the Sahara Energy Group geared towards ensuring energy sufficiency and effective utilisation in the country.
A Director at Ikeja Electric, a distribution arm of the Group,Ade Ogunsi said the group conglomerate through a well laid out planning system has over years built a culture of excellence in service delivery to the growing numbers of customers
“In Sahara, Egbin and IE all put together we always conduct what we call scenario planning.
Scenario planning is simply that we anticipate all likely possibilities and put in place a program and strategies to deal with those eventualities. Thankfully we are always not caught napping. We are always quite aware of what might happen and by that we are able to continue to steer the organisation in the right path.
“For us, it is not just being in existence that matters it is being able to deliver the promise we have made. For us we have signed this contract with all our customers to ensure that they have electricity. We will continue to invest massively in network expansion to ensure that lines that needed to be strengthened are strengthened and equally give additional contracts to those meter manufacturers to ensure that they deliver the prepaid meters for purpose of adequately metering of our customers.
“We equally pay attention to some of the things we are doing with regards to bilateral premium power initiative which we started in Magodo, Ogudu, Ikeja GRA and the rest of them. It is something that is catching fire so to speak, a service based tariff regime of this administration which is a product of our own experimentation at Ikeja Electric and that’s why we have now isolated and segmented the customers along the line of those who have the capacity to pay and ensuring that they are paying,” he affirmed.
With reference to investments made by the company on metering and other power facilities Odunsi said: “As for metering alone we have invested about $11.4million.Before then, we spent close to $44 million in advanced metering infrastructure which primarily is to integrate technology and innovation in our own way of doing business.
“We are doing network optimisation, we are doing more of system upgrade and most importantly we are equally training our staff the new way of doing things and so part of what we are doing presently is to ensure that the capacity to deliver is there.
“Meanwhile, there is something you can’t teach and that is passion. The passion of our staff lately is quite impressive. We deliberately and intentionally want to make things better because ultimately it is when there is electricity that they can go to bed and rest but today we don’t have enough of that.”
On the debate trailing the new tariff payment, he noted that the investment growth being sought in all the value chains of the power sector would continue to be a tall order without a cost reflective tariff system.