Ondo Begins Mini-Grid Projects in Communities

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The Ondo State Government has approved the commencement of fast-track off-grid electricity services in the southern senatorial district of the state in order to end the electricity blackout in the district.

Several communities in the senatorial district of the state had been without electricity supply for over five years due to alleged indebtedness to the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, it was learnt on Wednesday.

The project, being supervised by the state’s Office of Public Utilities, would cover communities such as Igbokoda, Obenla, Kiribo, Igbotu, Iyansan near Irele, Iju Odo, Bamikemo, and Lipanu, the Special Adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Public Utilities, Tunji Ariyomo, said.

He also said the power intervention programme underwent mandatory competitive bidding process in order to select the best partners, costs and tariff plans for the state.

According to him, no fewer than 102 different companies showed interest in the project but 18 of them were able to meet the conditions of payment of mandatory expression of interest fee handed down by the state government.

He said, “Eventually, 12 among the bidding companies won bids for lots across the state to set up modular independent power projects in partnership with the state government using a variety of energy mix technologies.”

Ariyomo also explained that the vision of the government was to expand the electricity value chain in the state by powering the most energy deprived parts of the state and their productive clusters which could enhance micro-economic activities and productivity.

He said, “Our administration intends to apply modern thinking in solving what has become a perennial challenge in Nigeria. From the model approved by Mr. Governor, even the communities as Cluster Off-take Units will own five per cent stake in the joint venture.

“Communities on their own may not be able to off-take electricity as reliable business and legal entities with dependable and immutable perpetual succession, but as the COU with government backing and clearly defined structure, that concern would be gradually mitigated.

“We have mandated the companies that were given the final approvals that metering is mandatory. Each household will be metered. Our objective is to promote an electricity intervention best practice that we hope could become a national reference point someday.

SOURCE: PUNCH

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