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DISCOs give update on metering



The pace of metering of electricity consumers is slow because of low liquidity in the sector, it was learnt on Thursday from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), General Manager, Corporate Communication, Mr. Oyebode Fadipe.

He pointed out that metering is aligned with the issue of liquidity in the sector, stressing that where there is an issue of paucity of cash, it limits the firm’s capital expenditure.

Fadipe, who spoke in an audience participatory program of Radio Nigeria in Abuja, noted that the Federal Government has pegged a limit to which the DisCos can spend its revenue.

Besides, he said that the DisCos have not been allowed to thrive with a cost reflective tariff.
The General Manager said: “The issue of metering is tied to the issue of liquidity. Where there are no sufficient funds for investment in the sector, there is no way you can expect everything will go on smoothly.

“For instance, the fundamental part of the challenges that the DisCos and indeed the power sector experiences are that there is a limit to your capital expenditure. You have a ceiling on your budget. You are not allowed to spend beyond a particular revenue level. Then how do you want to provide all the things that you want?

“That is also with prejudice to the fact that you don’t even have a cost reflective tariff that is supposed to help you have the cash to enable you to purchase most of these things.”

He, however, revealed that in its bid to intensify efforts at metering the customers in its franchise area, the AEDC recently purchased a single vehicle for N114 million.

He said that “We (AEDC) signed the contract for N10billion for just meters alone and it was not going to give us a much as 300,000 pieces of meters for a customer population of that is over a million.

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Travel & Tourism

Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos



Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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Science & Technology

FG to invest N600 billion in power sector



Federal Government has approved N600billion to be injected into the nation’s electricity market, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said on Wednesday. Speaking with reporters at the Market Operator’s (MO) Participants/Key Stakeholders 2019 Third Quarter Interactive Forum in Abuja, it’s MO, Edmund Eje, said the fund would be disbursed soon.

According to him, the intervention is for the payment of the shortfall in electricity invoices for the entire market.

He said the intervention is not restricted to a single chain in the market, but a holistic one.

He said: “The intervention is at a very advanced level. It has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Eje recalled that since 2015, the outstanding bill that the distribution companies (DisCos) have recorded is about N250billion.

Meanwhile, the decision was that the government should not reverse the privatization of the distribution firms, it would rather invoke its regulation force to whip the debtors into line.

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Science & Technology

Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) for backup and Bulk energy storage capacity planning in Nigeria



The accelerated growth of the energy economy and the demand for electricity in Nigeria is still highly dependent on the irregular and unreliable power supply from the National Grid. Evidently, the varying demand for electricity is barely compensated for as reserve power sources do not exist on the Grid. To achieve a desirable balanced load factor adequate forms of energy storage must be integrated at different levels of the power chain.

Father and son fixing the Generator

It wouldn’t be a false claim that the erratic power supply in Nigeria is the most significant factor hindering economic and industrial development in the country. Yet, the country is still not getting it right in terms of Electricity supply reliability. A major setback is that the power supply is erratic. Predicting the availability of electric power from the national grid is as good as playing Russian roulette.

In addition to the problem of supply, the flip-flop nature of the supply causes significant damage to an unaccounted number of domestic appliance and equipments across various industries in Nigeria. Also, the erratic supply is largely responsible for obstructing the normal flow of human and electrically powered processes at domestic and industrial levels, which would have operated at optimum levels if maintained with a steady supply of power. This obstructions ultimately amounts to a substantial amount of wasted resources unaccounted for in Nigeria at a huge cost to the National economy.

Recommended solution

“In a developed Economy when the demand for electricity is greater than the baseload, the National Grid reacts by providing additional electricity, but in the Nigerian Grid, this simply means ‘Powercut’, and indefinitely. For decades to date, Nigerians have had no options but forced to use generators to compensate for the deficiency from the National Grid or make do without electric power, this shouldn’t be the case in 2019 moving forward.”

“Our recommendation is the Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) for backup and Bulk energy storage capacity planning in Nigeria (a Power Bank). Pumped Hydro-Electricity power stations have a very short start-up time and can be readily used to provide additional electricity at peak times. Regional Backup bulk energy storage plants with large scale (>100 MW) energy storage capacity plan in Nigeria must be considered to reduce the use of fossil fuel-powered generators currently widely compensating for the Erratic power supplied from the Grid for domestic and industrial consumption. Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) Stations should be commissioned at strategic regional locations to enhance the efforts of the power distribution sector. This would ultimately reduce our national carbon footprint and the financial cost implications associated with power disruptions and the procurement/running of fossil fuel-powered generators.”  – KO

The Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change is compelling green technologies in various sectors of Science and Engineering. In the Automobile industry, it is accelerating the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and energy storage in batteries. Another interesting spinoff of the Paris Agreement is a need for Bulk energy storage of intermittent renewable energy needed to power green technologies. This is also driving the rapid development of technologies associated with the efficiency of capture/transfer of stored energy, mechanical efficiency of electric motors and generators etc. Currently, EVs convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels.

These recent developments build a brighter business case for Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES), as the systems are made up mainly of a similar mechanical component as in the transfer of stored energy in EVs. Despite the difference in the scale/sides of the systems, the energy transfer aspect and transmission losses of these technologies are relatively similar. The technical feasibility of a Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) installation is determined mainly by the efficiency of the systems of motors/pumps and generators.

In a PHES system, motors are used to run multiple parallel efficient centrifugal pumps lifting water for gravitational potential energy storage, and the technology could be scaled and adapted as required at difference regional stations across the country.

PHES station typically consists of reversible pumps/generators. Currently, GE (General Electric) is investing in the development of Hydro Variable Speed Pumped Storage technology specifically for this function.

Fundamentally, the method stores energy in the form of the gravitational potential energy of water pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. The pumps are powered by intermittent energy sources such as solar, wind and other renewables and Low-cost surplus off-peak electric power from National Grid (N.E.P.A) to be saved for periods of higher demand (night-time weekends etc). During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce electric power. The reservoirs used with pumped storage are relatively smaller compared to conventional hydroelectric dams of similar power capacity, and generating periods are often less than half a day.

Hydro Variable Speed Pumped Storage

Pumped storage is the largest-capacity form of grid energy storage available, and, as of 2017, the United States Department of Energy Global Energy Storage Database reports that Pumped Hydro Electricity (PHE) accounts for over 95% of all active tracked storage installations worldwide, with a total installed nameplate capacity of over 184 GW, of which about 25 GW is in the United States. The round-trip energy efficiency of PHE varies between 70%–80%, with some sources claiming up to 87%.

“Although pumped storage is a net user of power when used in conjunction with other forms of renewable generation to pump water back up to the top of a reservoir, it can help to resolve intermittency issues associated with other renewable technologies like solar and wind. Pumped storage hydropower is currently the only proven and by far the most widely adopted, technology for large scale energy storage. It provides a dynamic response and offers critical backup during periods of excess demand by maintaining grid stability. 

In Nigeria, PHE can ultimately provide electricity-market opportunities along with other benefits such as energy storage and distribution, balancing and reserve power sources, voltage and frequency control, cost management and load shaping and levelling. Considering the role of pumped storage as a robust solution to the Nigerian erratic power supply problem should become more critical looking forward.” -KO


The Liberty Times™ Scholarship program 

We are starting a PhD / MSc Scholarship funding Program Sponsor by The Liberty Times™ Nigeria. Funds would be raised on a case by case basis in collaboration with our Corporate partners, the aim is to provide a platform to facilitate the funding of Research and development of solutions in issues we are investigating that affects society largely. Click here for Updates of the scholarship program


A Potential PhD / MSc Scholarship Opportunity is available for a candidate to contribute to the development of advanced Bulk energy storage systems with a focus on The Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) system in a multidisciplinary research team.

Project Description

  • Earn money whilst you Work and Study!
  • 3-year term of PhD 1-year of MSc
  • Scholarships Available, $1,000 p.a. Tax-Free

Alongside the Nigerian Erratic Power Supply problem, as highlighted in the article above, globally, there is a rapid increase in green energy demand considering the potential drastic effects of climate change, as highlighted by the Paris Agreement, the global agreement on the reduction of climate change.

There is an urgent need for developing effective energy storage systems to finally end the reliance on fossil fuel-powered generators compensating for the Erratic power supplied from the Grid for domestic and industrial consumption in Nigeria.

The role:

This research is aimed at providing a detailed investigation of the economic justification for advanced Bulk energy storage systems with a focus on the Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) system in Nigeria. The research would be considering the following multiple goals:

  • The Technical benefits such as energy storage and distribution, balancing and reserve power sources, voltage and frequency control, cost management and load shaping and levelling.
  • Environmental and social benefits: Rural electrification, Irrigation and flood control opportunities.
  • Proposed Locations: The desirable and Feasible location would be investigated based on need factors and topography.
  • The Construction: Aspects of design infrastructure, Project Management and cost would also be addressed.
  • Business case and Funding ideas: Electricity-market opportunities, Project financial etc.

The successful applicants will have the opportunity to work on a highly topical area and within a world-class research team. The studies are to be conducted at the Faculty of Engineering at a Nigerian University.

The person:

  • Applicants should have at least a first-class BSc Honours degree (or equivalent) in Electrical / Electronics Engineering, Physics, or a related field.
  •  Applicants who have publications and research experience at Master level are preferred.
  •  Applicants with degrees from a reputable University ( top 400 in the world – based on QS ranking or similar) are preferred.
  • Consideration will also be given to applicants who do not meet all the criteria above but are applicants of Nigerian descent. International students with a Master degree from a reputable university are also encouraged to apply.

Send your CV including final grades for your degrees and publication list, academic transcripts, English test (if applicable) and details of 2-3 references by e-mail to

For more details contact: Kenneth Oronsaye BSc. Electrical / Electronics MSc. Instrumentation manchester University by e-mail:  / WhatsApp: +447400252255  / +2348183426846

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Science & Technology

Buhari expresses worry over abuse of technology



President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday noted that technology has been abused as a tool for instigating violence in the country, instead of its good intent. He spoke at the State House while receiving the Chairman and Board members of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).

He said “Generally, technology has been an enabler for good however in recent times, we are seeing this platform more and more being used to instigate violence and hate.

“Nowhere is this disturbing trend more apparent than in the various media platform, where fake news is gaining momentum and is being used to divide and destabilize communities and indeed nations around the world
“We see images being manipulated to give legitimacy to lies. We hear a voice on radio preaching falsehood and hatred. We also read stories that are already sponsored by individuals who stand to gain at the expense of truth, peace, and harmony,” he said.

Despite all these, he said, that the powerful weapon that can counter such manipulations is the truth.

He said: “As I mentioned a few months ago, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, since digital information age is borderless, this means we must be ready to respond with the best weapon we have; truth.”
The President urged journalists to save their profession by tackling the growing trend of fake news.

“Journalism as a profession is primarily based on being truthful. With the growing increase in fake news, the future of your profession is under threat and therefore you must be ready to correct this and safeguard your professionalism and reputation,” the President advised.

While giving the FRCN a special assignment, the President said: “In the case of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, you must proactively develop programs based on truth, facts, and broader national interest.

“You should also have strategies to react to fake information and sensitize our citizens not to believe stories at face value especially when the source is unknown or not credible, where supporting facts are not available.”

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