Shop owners at the Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos have lauded Federal Government’s 1.5 megawatts Independent Power Project (IPP) describing it as aiding improved power supply and productivity.
The project, according to some merchants in the market, has helped to solve the previous power challenges encountered in the complex.
It would be recalled that Sura shopping complex was part of the market clusters that benefited from the Federal Government’s Energising Economies Initiative (EEI), implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) via the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions through private sector developers.
Information from the REA states that the complex which houses about 1,047 shops had been metered, and that the project takes excess capacity power from the Lagos Island independent power plant
Seven months after commencement of the project, sellers and shop owners who spoke with The Guardian affirmed the improvement in power supply to the complex.
One Alhaji Moro, a shop owner in the complex noted that unlike before, the complex enjoys about 75 per cent of energy supply now.
According to him, the project did not only end the use of generators, but it also reduced the cost of monthly electricity payment especially for those not involved in production.
He explained that because every shop is metered, people only buy what they consume, hence, for those in the service side of the business, the IPP is beneficial, adding that he now spends an average of N3000 in a month now compared to when he buys fuels at random.
Another shop owner who is into the production of fashion wears said that before the project, the average cost spent on fuel to power her machines for a week was about N7,000 as compared to now when she can credit her meter with N5,000 for more than two weeks depending on the level of production.
She, however, explained further that the N5,000 lasted her that long because most of the times, she doesn’t run her air conditioners unlike in the past and that if she did, she didn’t know how much it would cost.
She confessed that the project, for most of them, has taught them how to manage energy as people now pay for what they use.
A visit by The Guardian to Sura revealed that most shops that were visited had only fans and bulbs on, with the exception of few ones like Bespoke shops who declined to give comments.
However, efforts to speak with the builders and managers of the project, a private sector developer called Solad Holdings Ltd., proved abortive as calls were not answered and representatives at the customers’ service office of the IPP in the complex declined giving comments.
Equally the chairperson of the Shop Owners Association of the complex, Bunmi Ajayi declined comments on the situation.
Authored By: Tayo Oredola