Businesses can be termed energy-poor when they rely on expensive air polluting energy alternatives such as noisy petrol and diesel generating sets when grid supplied electricity is scarce or practically non existent. According g to a World Bank report, about 47% of Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity and those who do have access, face regular power cuts. The economic cost of power shortages in Nigeria is estimated at around $28 billion - equivalent to 2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and getting access to electricity ranks as one of the major constraints for the private sector according to the 2020 Doing Business report.
MitiMeth was no exception. We were energy poor! Dirt poor I must say and when you are steeped in energy poverty, you adapt and focus on making things happen so you can have the barest minimum electricity to be productive. We would shuffle activities to revolve around those momentary flashes of grid supplied power. And if we didn’t have those flashes, we would crank up the generator to get work done. That’s what we did for many years. We paid for metered electricity but rarely got it.
A few years ago, I traveled to a small town in Ghana not too far from Accra called Akuse with one of my Master Artisans who had never travelled out of Nigeria until that moment. We were there for a full week and not once did the grid supplied power flicker. The staff at the enterprise we spent time with were able to produce continuously without any disruptions or distractions which are the dominant twins in Nigeria. My Master Artisan, a Nigerian youth, marveled and exclaimed at this novel experience of uninterrupted power supply. I told him what we experienced in Ghana was possible in Nigeria with good leadership, foresight and a genuineinterest to see SMEs thrive.
On returned to Nigeria from Ghana, we continued running the business in a helpless state getting energy poorer by the minute. In 2022, we moved to a bigger location for production. The location of our dreams. In the process of renovating the space, we noticed the previous tenant had rewired the electricity connections to bypass the meter. My electrician informed me that I needed to buy a new meter because the inherited meter was apparently burnt and damaged. Which probably explains why the previous tenant bypassed the meter. I reviewed the IBEDC breakdown of what it would cost to get a new meter. I was shocked beyond when I was informed that it will take 3 months to get a meter! And so from February to May, during the fuel scarcity and beyond we had to crank up the generator. I was fueled with righteousness indignation!
Enough was enough of being energy poor. We were running the generator day in day out at an unsustainable rate. And the fuel scarcity crisis compounded things. It was at that point, the heavy scales dropped from our eyes and we started looking at other energy alternatives. Why suffer lack in the midst of plenty. GOD had blessed us with good sunlight all year round for free! So why weren’t we taping into this???? Sosai renewables to the rescue. Next came a quote. Next came the installation of the 5 Izzy system. And finally came the power. After 4 months of no power connection, we are now finally connected and powered by solar. Thanks to SOSAI Renewables.
What a BIG difference this installation has made in the past 4 weeks. The ability to communicate is much easier and this is key when you are running a production hub remotely. Remote monitoring via technology is now made possible. Phones and laptops are permanently charged. And the list goes on. We are on a 5 year payment plan and yes, I am still looking for Climate financing! It was either we spend cash on an unsustainable energy option or we spend cash on a cleaner and more sustainable energy option. We chose to spend our cash wisely in a way that will benefit not just us alone but the planet as well.
I asked my team today how they were faring with the new solar system and if the rains were affecting the power supply. See how NEPA (PHCN) has so conditioned us into believing that rain and power could not happen at the same time 😩. Celebrate with us 💡🎉 the breaking of this energy poverty cycle and liberty from the bondage of wrong belief systems. We are now energy rich. Hallelujah 🙌🏾.