.as Sanwo-Olu takes Giant strides towards affordable electricity
Winners have emerged from the 3 days finals of the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre. The winners, Team Power Bit Crunchers from the hardware category and Team Zeena Platform from the Software category have earned themselves the combined prize money of 10 million naira. The winners and runners-up will also get working space at Eko Innovation Centre, while all ten (10) finalists will get mentorship opportunities, among other consolation prizes.
Mr. Olonma Ibrahim and Peter Okonma represented the hardware team, while OluwasemiOreoluwa and AdenitireAyonikun represented the Software Team at the event.
Speaking on the significance of the initiative at the announcement ceremony at the Eko Innovation Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, September 18th, 2020, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. BabajideSanwo-Olu said: “Today is a true hallmark in our administration's pursuit to improve the welfare of our people. As you are aware, a key pillar of our administrations T.H.E.M.E.S agenda is to make Lagos a 21st-century economy and this Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon fits perfectly as it combines innovation, creativity and local capacity to deliver solutions that will improve access to electricity in Lagos.”
He said further that the settings, the mood, and the aura at the ceremony “inspires creativity and innovation, and that he saw in the participants vibrant energetic youthfulness “that inspires hope of brighter and bigger roles that technology and digitization would play in the country.
Speaking further he said Smart Meter Initiative “is another demonstration of a promise kept” by his administration as “it aligns with the administrations’ T.H.E.M.E.S agenda to make Lagos a 21st-century economy,” and that the result of the initiative would drive local capacity that would find homegrown solutions to solve our challenges, which “is a great move in transforming the electricity sector in the state.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu promised that his administration would continue to support this initiative and that the outcomes of today’s programme have inspired his administration to do even more to drive local capacity and find homegrown solutions while taking advantage of global opportunities to solve our challenges. “The young people in Lagos and Nigeria have proven to be hardworking and brilliant and we will do all we can to support them through our various ministries, agencies, enabling policies and incentives,” he stated.
He encouraged all participants, especially those that were not declared winners to never give up. “Everyone,” he said “is a winner, someone must just be declared winner to fulfill all righteousness.” He urged them to continue to persevere and improve, as his administration, through mentorship and other incentives, “is always ready and elated to support and collaborate in creative and innovative ideas that would improve living standards and grow the economy.”
While making his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat noted that “The Lagos Smart Meter Programme is an important way for the Lagos government to demonstrate its commitment to improving access to reliable and affordable smart meters to increase the living conditions of our people.
“Therefore, Dr.Hamzat continued, “the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon which is driving local talents to explore innovative and affordable ways to deliver smart meters for Lagos and Nigeria is a key priority for our administration and we truly appreciate the support of all the sponsors and partners of this initiative.”
Doja Ekeruche, Advisory Board Member of Eko Innovation Centre, disclosed that curating the Hackathon is in line with the centre’s purpose of leveraging innovation and technology in solving poverty and other challenges in Africa. She stated further that the output of the Hackathon will contribute significantly to solving the challenges of the power sector, while also serving as an inspiration to local tech-talents in Nigeria to develop innovative solutions that will transform the future of Nigeria.
She highlighted that local solutions are needed to help the country solve its challenges locally rather than consistently looking for foreign ideas that do not necessarily fit our local situation. In this vein, she committed that Eko Innovation Centre would not rest on its oars in unveiling innovative minds and remains resolute in taking local ideas from concept to commercialisation.
The three-day final was quite revealing and exciting, and this was reiterated by the judges, participants, and attendees. According to Mr. Ade Bajomo, Executive Director Access, representing the Managing Director, “the great efforts by the Lagos State Government at improving access to electricity has received a major boost by this initiative. He said Access Bank would always support creative and innovative ideas. He said he “is excited as Africans were striving hard to find local solutions to local problems, leveraging on local solutions. He said, “this is a revolution that should not be missed, and we must all come together to support and nurture.”
On the journey that climaxed in the finals, winners emerged after a competitive pitch process which saw five finalists from both hardware and software categories respectively compete for the combined prize money. Although Lagos State Government initially committed the sum of 7million Naira to appreciate the winners’ for their efforts before progressing to commercialization, Mr. Governor BabajideSanwo-Olu, Engr. Kola Balogun, Chairman, MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, and Bunmi Akinyemiju, CEO, Venture Garden Group, all contributed N1 million each to raise the total prize money to N10 million. Chantelle Abdul, CEO MOJEC International also contributed N2 million for the runners-up.
Launched on July 30th, 2020 by Lagos State Governor BabajideOlusolaSanwo-Olu, Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon is an initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & 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 meter acquisition. The Lagos State Government is therefore leveraging bright local talents to design and produce affordable smart electricity meters.
The convener of the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon, the Honourable Commissioner for Energy & Mineral Resources, Lagos State, Mr. OlalereOdusote said that the Hackathon received two hundred and seventy-four (274) registrations: one hundred and twenty-seven (127) of which bid in the hardware category, while one hundred and forty-seven (147) competed in the software group. Impressively, sixty-five (65) hardware and software prototypes were submitted by applicants. The shortlisted five finalists from the hardware category were: Cosmo Automation, Smart Energy, Techwizard, Power Bit Crunchers, and Gadozz Electricals, while the five software finalists were: Vectorians, Zeena Platform, Magnitronics Chosen Soft Tech, and Gideon from Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Benin, and Oyo State.
Speaking on the high points of their respective prototype designs, Team Zeena Platform stated that their smart meter software solution could fix tariffs and usage restrictions to guide electricity consumption by users. “Administrators can control pricing, check working meters, energy consumption, and perform oversight functions. Our database will run on blockchain technology and data security of users is assured.” Power Bit Crunchers, winners in the hardware category team explained that their prototype smart meter can be monitored and controlled remotely, with additional tamper-proof functionalities that protects against bypass and other fraudulent activities.
The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020 received entries from across the country. It was convened by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources; curated by Eko Innovation Centre; sponsored by Access Bank Plc, Egbin Power, Ikeja Electric Distribution Company, Mojec International, Eko Electric Distribution Company, MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company, ElSewedy Electric, Royal Power & Energy, Venture Garden Group, InfraCredit, Axxela Limited; and supported by The Lagos State Office of Innovation and Technology, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), the Nigeria Energy Support Program (NESP) implemented by the German International Development Corporation (GIZ), Oracle, IBM, General Electric, Business Day and Accelerate TV.