The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED), recently launched an Energy Efficiency enlightenment program to help increase awareness and educate the public on the need for energy efficiency.
The program is targeted towards primary, secondary and tertiary school within the company’s distribution area and it was launched at the Community Secondary School, Nkpogu in Elekahia on the 25th of January.
In an interview with Spark Media, Mr Franklin Ajaegbu of PHED talked about the enlightenment program and the goals the distribution company hopes to attain with it. Mr Franklin Ajaegbu is the Energy Efficiency Program Manager of PHED.
Mr Franklin Ajaegbu, Energy Efficiency Program Manager of PHED
Tell us about the PHED energy efficiency enlightenment program (what is energy efficiency?)
Energy efficiency simply means using less energy input to provide the same services thereby saving energy and cost, as well as reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For example, replacing 100 Watts incandescent bulb in our home with an energy-saving 10 Watts LED bulb would lead to saving 90% of energy and cost accruable to that particular lighting point. Same model applies to all other electrical appliances in our various homes and offices. Hence, lower watts (W) in our electrical appliances, the lesser energy consumption (EC) of that appliance, leading to decrease in our energy bills (EB).
What is the overall vision of the program?
The energy efficiency programme is aimed at supporting PHED’s growth and improve service delivery to our customers by helping them to manage their energy usage efficiently, which would create access to energy for residents of remote areas; increase hours of energy supply; make energy more affordable for the customers; enhance customer’s loyalty; and reduce aggregate technical, commercial and collection (ATC&C) losses.
Why is PHED focused on schools?
The school-to-school enlightenment campaign is one of the various initiatives of the PHED energy efficiency programme, including energy audit project and community-to-community campaign. However, our school programme is very important and provides a great platform to reach out to the pupils/students and teachers in all the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions within our licensed states. In addition to learning the behavioural change towards efficient energy usage at early stage, the pupils/students also take the message home and enlighten their parents and guardians thereby helping them to save money and make our environment a better place.
So far, how many schools have you covered and how many children?
In each school, we educate both the students and the teachers as well. Currently, we have covered up to 50 schools both public and private in various communities within our areas of coverage, and each school has a range of 400 to 4000 populations. Our long-term target is to cover all the schools and communities in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Bayelsa States of Nigeria. In the implementation of the programme, we are partnering with the Ministries of Power and Education, as well as volunteers from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Furthermore, PHED is the first to start this programme in Nigeria, and we are proudly setting the pace in the energy efficiency and demand side management innovations within the Nigerian power industry.
What kind of responses have you been getting from the students?
Oh! Very great and captivating! After each training session, the students usually inquire to know more about energy efficiency, having understood the importance of energy to our economy and human capital development. However, some students have shown that they are more intelligent than the others especially those of them from the Graceland International School, Port Harcourt. Based on their response to our questions, we select energy efficiency ambassadors and form energy clubs in most of the schools we have covered, and we intend to be getting further feedbacks through them.
How will energy efficiency impact the Nigerian power sector?
Energy efficiency is a win-win strategy for both the energy consumers and suppliers, and has many benefits to the Nigerian power sector in the short-term and long-run. Energy efficiency is one of the conditions to the Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and is contained under NERC’s rule 53 to Discos. The Nigerian power sector is currently facing short-supply and financial crises. The industry generates and distributes less than 10% of energy required by the end-users which is negatively impacting on our economy. As a solution, energy efficiency would help to address the key issues facing the power industry – energy/revenue losses on the supplier side and epileptic energy supply on the customer’s side. Efficient energy usage by the end-users would reduce their energy consumption and bills thereby improving the affordability of energy and willingness for customers to pay 100% of their energy bills, hence, reducing collection losses by the suppliers. In addition, saved energy would be converted to energy resource with which to increase hours of energy supply to the served customers and further create energy access to the uncovered customers at the local areas, leading to savings in the capital expenditure and enhance revenue generation to the investors in the power-supply value chain.
Final words for electricity consumers;
I encourage all energy end-users to imbibe the behavioural and technological change towards efficient use of energy and energy-saving lighting/appliances respectively, so as to reduce their energy consumption and cost. We can save money by saving energy.