L-R: Mr Raji Oyebowale, Chairman, Governing Council, LASCOCO; Mrs Zulikha Ibraheem, Director Cooperative Services, MCCTI; Majeed Fatai, Lagos State House of Assembly; Abiola Olowu , Special Adviser on Energy and Mineral Resources and Mr Akorede Ojomu, Provost ,Lagos State Cooperative College



By Oluwatope Lawanson

The Lagos State Government says its new electricity cooperative model initiative is a potential solution to the ailing energy sector in the country, particularly in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade & Investment, Mrs Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, made this known at a one-day maiden symposium in Lagos on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium, organised by the Lagos State Cooperative College is with the theme: “Venturing into Power Sector: The Electric Cooperative Model”.

NAN reports that the electric cooperative is a private, not-for-profit company whose purpose is to safely deliver electricity to its consumers or members at the most affordable price possible.

Ambrose-Medebem, represented by the ministry’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Zolikat Ibrahim, noted that the college with an annual financial turnover of N70 billion, had what it takes to venture into the power sector value chain to deliver the essential public utility.

She said the deregulation and signing of the Electricity Act, 2023 by President Bola Tinubu on June 2023, the electricity cooperative model would resolve the energy challenges in the distribution, generation and transmission chain.

The commissioner said the electricity cooperative model would further increase private sector investment to solve the epileptic power supply given the country’s unpalatable experiences in the area of power supply over the years.

She observed that the aptness of the theme and the auspiciousness of its timing, was coming at a time when Nigerians appeared fed up with the seeming intractability of the energy challenges as a country.

The commissioner added that the multidimensional epileptic power supply had affected quality of life, capacity utilisation and productivity.

Ambrose-Medebem said the listing of power generation and distribution as a concurrent item and the subsequent enactment of the Electricity Act, 2023, clearly attested to the readiness of the Federal Government to address the problem of power sector.

According to her, this has made the state to be proactive in the establishment of the Lagos State Electricity Board under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in anticipation and readiness for the devolution of power supply to the federating units.

The commissioner said power was needed to drive and sustain economic growth and as such, the current attempt at full liberalisation and deregulation of the power sector is highly welcomed.

She said: “In developed climes, power supply is accorded so much priority with commensurate multi-sectoral investments in cost-effective power solutions to guarantee stability in supply for productive purposes.

“I believe it is safe to infer that the extant regulatory framework in the power sector can prove to be a major game changer going forward, if only we can begin to seize the available opportunities in taking the right business and investment decisions.

“With over 3,000 active membership and an annual financial turnover in excess of N70 billion, the cooperative college has what it takes to venture into the power sector value chain to deliver this essential public utility and improve the quality of life of its teeming members.

“In the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and even some African Countries, electric cooperatives have been successfully established and sustainably managed.

“This is to bridge the shortfall in electricity supply particularly through the establishment of mini-grids for power generation and distribution to rural communities and enclaves not accommodated in the national grids.”

Also, in his welcome address, the Provost of the college, Mr Akorede Ojomu said the college was ready to contribute its own quota to the trending issue of electricity deregulation.

Ojomu said the college would do this through the promotion of the adoption of electric cooperative model in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the state and country at large.

He noted that the symposium was organised pursuant to the provisions of Section four of the law that established the college.

Speaking, the Special Adviser on Energy Resources to Sanwo-Olu, Mr Abiola Olowu said electricity cooperatives though still novel, were not new to countries with rich cooperative practice and history where it had been in the business of providing utility services.

Olowu noted that an electricity cooperative was a private, not-for-profit company whose purpose was to safely deliver electricity to its consumers or members at the most affordable price possible.

Also, former managing director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Dr Usman Mohammed identified a lack of investment and managerial capacity as problems crippling the Nigerian power sector.

Mohammed said the electricity cooperative model by the college would help in resolving the epileptic power supply in the state and in the country in general. NAN

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