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‘LED bulb cannot save 1,200MW of electricity’


Led bulb. Image source

Led bulb. Image source

The minister recently called for ledification of homes and streets. Do you think that is what the country needs right now?
LED bulbs can be utilized in Nigeria in view of their advantage over the popular incandescent bulbs presently in use in Nigeria.

Because LEDs are made from a solid material, they are much more durable than incandescent bulbs. Dropping or bashing an LED by accident is not as big a risk as it is with an incandescent light which will smash, rendering it inoperable and dangerous due to broken glass.

Comparatively, LEDs last much longer than their incandescent counterparts. A standard incandescent bulb will last for a maximum of 1500 hours while an LED can last for up to 60,000 hours. This means fewer replacements, which means lower maintenance costs. In the past LEDs were much more expensive, but now their initial cost completely justifies the savings which can be made in the long term with specific reference to the incandescent bulbs because most LEDs consume only a fraction of the electricity that an incandescent bulb does.

On the basis of the above mentioned advantages of the LED bulbs, the minister’s call for LED-fication of homes and street is acceptable to the extent that it addresses only lighting loads. which is not as much a problem affecting electricity supply.

However against the background that most homes and offices in Nigeria run on mixed loads, the minister’s statement becomes not only misleading but a misrepresentation of facts. It is important that scientific issues be subjected to empirical analysis and research before being put in public domain.

The figure of 1,200mw has no scientific proof and as such is misleading in the face of non-consideration of the mixed loads factor. For quantification purposes, it is required that the cluster of LED’s installed at the Stock Exchange be selectively metered with respect to its lighting load only in order to truly quantify the savings within the “summed-up” energy consumption recorded on their digital meters most of which is driven more rapidly by Mixed Loads.

The justification for our position on this is driven from the fact Electric motors are the main motive in our daily lives; during industrial process, use of appliances everywhere including our commercial buildings and as such mixed loads is the main determinant for any true energy saving that is worth the while.

Do you think LED bulbs will help to solve the issue of inadequate electricity in the country?
On the other hand, the LED issue raised by the minister is not exactly what the country needs at this point, which actually goes beyond the LED revolution; as the country should rather seek and invest in such proven energy efficient, power optimizing, conservation and saving devices that would improve the quantum of available power (especially mixed load components) for our industries, reduce their costs and improve their capacity to employ people.

The Minister should lead the country to identify and embrace such energy optimizing and efficiency based technology that would enable us still generate 3800mw as currently noted while distributing 4,750Mw without investing in new transmission or distribution infrastructure.

This is the type of robust landmark the nation needs at this time as obtainable in India, Israel, EU etc. Let him lead the crusade to create appreciable degree of sufficiency within the existing insufficiency across lighting and mixed loads.

What is your assessment of the government’s power reform programme? Do you think it is on the right direction?
By my assessment, the governments power reform program is still in its infancy and on-going; I would therefore not be in a hurry to award marks. However, I worry over something strange about the power sector and its reform program.

Globally, progressive power industry performance rating through sustenance, reliability, availability is driven by substantial investment in research and development. It is therefore surprising to note that while smaller industrial plants (The Breweries, Dangote’s etc) are getting more innovative through increased investment in research and development, the power industry in Nigeria which is largely controlled by the government has failed to see this omission of R&D as the Achilles heel responsible for the unstable state of affairs that has plagued the power sector since its days as NEPA and up to the change to PHCN and now under cloned privatization.

It is indeed unimaginative to observe that an institution the operates huge capacity power generating plants (over 30 power plants and still counting) lacks the ability to provide needed support in such critical areas like condition assessment, utility auditing, analysis and cost evaluation, upgrade auditing and planning, predictive maintenance regimentation, repowering audits, interpretation and critical response remedies and others.

How can your company assist the government to solve the issue of irregular power supply in the country?
My company-PowTech Power International Limited did stretch out its hand of partnership to the Ministry of Power when we made a presentation during which we offered and demonstrated beyond empirical terms our capacity to work with the Honorable Minister of Power to introduce the energy optimizing and efficiency based technology that would enable the Ministry keep generating 3800mw as currently noted while distributing 4,750Mw without investing in new transmission or distribution infrastructure.

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