Indigenous Tech: Nigeria Incentivizes Development of Smart Meters to make Electric Power Available, Affordable to All

The Lagos State Government in Nigeria has announced the frontrunners that will participate in the final hackathon design event slated to run from September 16th - 18th 2020. During the event,  Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will declare the overall winner from competing entries in hardware and software categories at the Grand Finale scheduled to hold at the Eko Innovative Centre: 50, Awolowo Road, Victoria Island, and Lagos.

The Honourable Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote disclosed that five contenders each have emerged from both categories of the competition and the eventual winners will share the grand prize of N7 million (about 18, 000 USD).

He said finalists were shortlisted after a transparent, rigorous, and competitive process, noting that the Hackathon initiative received 274 entries, with 127 bids in the hardware category and 147 competed in the software group.

While disclosing that 65 hardware and software prototypes were submitted by applicants, Odusote explained that the five shortlisted finalists from the hardware category are: Cosmo Automation, Smart Energy, Techwizard, Power Bit Crushers and Gadozz Electricals, while the five software finalists are: Vectorians, Zeena Platform, Magnitronics, Chosen Soft-Tech and Gideon.

According to him, “The initiative by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is aimed at providing affordable electricity meters to the populace by facilitating the design and production of meters that will accelerate efforts towards achieving improvement in energy distribution, monitoring and prevention of revenue leakage.

“Over 60% of Lagosians and Nigerians are estimated to be unmetered due to unavailability and the high cost of the meter acquisition. The Lagos State Government is, therefore, leveraging bright local talents to design and produce affordable smart electricity meters”, he added.

Speaking on the Hackathon judging process, Mrs. Doja Ekeruche, Advisory Board Member, Eko Innovation and one of the curators of the Hackathon noted that 19 judges with expertise in the power and tech ecosystem participated in the shortlisting process that produced the finalists.

“We asked companies in the Energy and Tech ecosystem to nominate representatives to serve on the selection panel tasked with shortlisting the top five finalists from both hardware and software tracks to proceed to the final hackathon events.

“At the end of the short-listing phase, a session was held with the judges to discuss the reviewing process and an analytics team ranked the submissions by all judges to arrive at the top finalists”, she explained.

During the launch of the programme on July 30, 2020, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu noted that the Smart Meter Hackathon Initiative marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the State Government’s plan towards improving access to electricity as it aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations targeted at achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari had in August 2020 directed that electricity meters be made available to all Nigerian at no cost.