54% of Nigerian Electricity consumers do not have meters, 04 September 2016, Shanghai — The figure represents about 54.15 percent of 5, 172, 979, the total number of power consumers in the country. “Twenty percent of consumers committed electricity theft and difficulties exist in supervision and regulation,” Business Leader (Distribution), Sahara Group, Mr. Rotimi Onanuga.
At a recent meeting with the operators of Ugwuaji Transmission Station, Enugu. The minister for Housing, Power and works Babatunde Fashola SAN requested that Discos should immediately commence the distribution of prepaid meter to customers without further delays. In a country where the distribution of power is already deregulated, meter production, distribution and on-boarding is still a major bone of contention.
Though some local manufacturing outfit such as Memmcol; manufactures and distributes metering systems, there is still a wide margin of shortage within the country. With the low level of metering solutions in Nigeria, a young entrepreneur in his earily 30s has a bold vision to change this. Foundly called Fedy, Ifediora Ugochukwu Emmanuel a graduate of Electrical & Electronic Engineering from FUTO(Federal University of Technology Owerri) started working years back on his new venture. With a Prototype product and a patent from the Patent office of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade And Investment FEDY was shortlisted and won among winners of 2016 ITU Telecom World Recognition for Excellence Award in Thailand. The team sent in their story and the excerpts is below:
Still battling with the enormous resources and task involved in researching and developing a smart meter tailor-made for the unique challenges in Nigerian metering industry, I came across this caption on one of Nigerian online news site on 5th January 2016: “Fashola meets with local meter manufacturers to address challenges”. After reading the article I was inspired by his words especially where he said this,
“…think outside the box through innovation to tap into the immense opportunities in this sector”
This pharse inspired us to forge ahead more ebulliently on the research project I called the iMeter (Intelligent meter) Fedironic Sol was working on. The iMeter is simple, but a very innovative smart meter designed to address the challenges of electricity metering in Nigeria.
With a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, by June 2016, Fedironics Intelligent Metering Company the resulting spinoff company from Fedironics Sol which my brother Elochukwu and I founded became the fourth most innovative startup of the year at the African Startupper of the Year. Within the year, our team went further to achieve one of our major key objective and unique selling point which is to design and build an innovative and affordable bottom of the pyramid (BoP) smart meter. By the end of August 2016 the iMeter received a patent from the Patent office of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade And Investment. This became a great milestone for everyone involved in the project.
Our disruptive electricity metering solution, iMeter measures energy, detects tamper and bypass, manages energy and tariff, provides pre/post payment services, logs events in near-real time and has a power change-over feature while integrating a dedicated mobile application interface (MAI) and a web application solution called AMI solution for the purpose of extensive two-way communication between Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) , electricity consumers, and data management for both. We are also developing a Smart Water Metering solution to help nigeria with this challange.
By September 2016, the iMeter got the attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), after screening applications from innovators and SME startups to participate in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2016 Conference in Bangkok. They were impressed by the use of ICT in providing solution for the metering challenges in Nigeria. NCC desiring to attract investors in our great nation provided a unique platform for eight SME startups and innovators to represent Nigeria at the conference in Bangkok that held from 14th to 17th November, 2016.
A day before the end of the event and the announcement of the awards, I got an email from ITU that our company was among the winners of ITU Telecom World. A second email came thereafter requesting that I be one of the speakers of the final forum at the award ceremony with Ms Jiyeon (Sophia) Park, Global Marketing Manager, ulalaLAB, Republic of Korea (also a SME startup) to be moderated by William Hurley a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.
The final forum section focused on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. And our audience included Houlin Zhao secretary-general of ITU, Shola Taylor secretary-general of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), Prajin Juntong, Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Kingdom of Thailand to mention but a few. After the forum, I received the ITU Telecom World Recognition for Excellence Award from Houlin Zhao on behalf of our Fedironics Intelligent Metering Company with a heart overwhelmed with joy and a mouth short of words.
The conference provided us with learning and networking opportunities, I made incredible contacts with interested investors that will soon materialize into investments as we follow-up on them.
On behalf of SME startups and innovators that represented Nigeria I would like to thank Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, NCC CEO/EVC and his magnificent team at NCC for supporting us and providing this unique platform for us as a way to promote SMEs startups and attract investment to the country.
And for us at Fedironics, our vision still remains our focus, moving Nigeria and Africa forward by developing and deploying peculiar solutions to solve the indigenous challenges in our communities.
Ifediora Ugochukwu Emmanuel
Co-Founder : Fedironics Intelligent Metering Company