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Beacon Power closes $2.7M seed round to boost electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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An energy tech company providing data and grid management solutions to help Africa’s power sector distribute electricity more efficiently, Beacon Power Services (BPS), has announced the closing of a $2.7 million round of seed financing on Friday.

The round was led by Seedstars Africa Ventures with participation from Persistent Energy, Factor[e], Kepple Africa Ventures, and Oridun Capital Management.

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that the funding will allow the company to enhance its product offerings, support growth in its current operations and expand beyond Nigeria and Ghana.

In a statement made available to Nigerian NewsDirect, Managing Partner at Seedstars Africa Ventures, Maxime Bouan, said “As a society, we have recognized climate change as one of the biggest threats to our generation, and it is critical we use smart capital to support entrepreneurs across Africa who are creating innovative and localized solutions to tackle this challenge.”

According to the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of BPS, Bimbola Adisa, “The BPS team has demonstrated success in partnering with Africa’s power companies to deploy data driven solutions that are relevant to their specific operating conditions.

“We recognize the significant economic, social and environmental impact of this technology that innovatively solves affordable electricity access. We are excited about the potential to support the team’s expansion to continue to disrupt power access and reliability across the continent.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing cities in the world, but when most people think of energy access in Africa, they think of the rural areas with little or no access to electricity at all. However, it is impossible for Africa to develop without significantly improving electricity access and reliability across its major cities,” Adisa noted.

Adisa added: “When we realized that solutions designed for mature markets fail to address the unique infrastructure challenges Africa faces, we developed a tailored solution for power companies on the continent to improve daily grid supply of electricity.

“We have helped our utility clients reduce network losses significantly, recover unrealised revenue and improve electricity reliability for over 30 million consumers and businesses. Most importantly, our technology is having a real impact on sustainable economic development and climate change in Africa by reducing the continent’s reliance on diesel generators.”

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Energy

Ibiyemi honoured with Posthumous award for contributions to energy sector

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The Founding Publisher of Nigerian NewsDirect, Late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi has been honoured with a Posthumous award for his contributions to the Energy sector at the maiden edition of the Energy Times award ceremony in Lagos.

The late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi was bestowed with the award of “Most Versatile Journalist of the year.”

Dr Ibiyemi before he passed on last year July was a member of the Nigerian Gas Association, Nigerian Guild of Editors, NIPR, Rotary Club, Newspapers Propietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC), member Ife Development board, Board Chairman, Olode Grammar School, amongst a host of others. He was also notably a member of the technical drafting committee that drafted the Petroleum Industry Bill now Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), being the only Journalist on the committee.

Described by the former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) as a champion of local content, Dr Ibiyemi utilised his platform to advocate for the development of Nigeria’s local content and created foras to adumbrate on policies that will change the trajectory of Nigeria’s Oil and gas industry.

Commending Dr Ibiyemi, Dr Diran Fawibe, the Chairman of International Energy Services Limited (IESL) and Chairman of the occasion described the Late Dr Ibiyemi as one of the few journalists who were really knowledgeable about the sector and actively pursued the growth of the sector through his tabloid, NewsDirect.

Fawibe noted that he used to buy NewsDirect everyday due to the rich quality content and reportage it supplied on a daily basis on the energy sector.

Receiving the award on behalf of the family, the Publisher/Executive Director of Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi commended the management of Energy Times for recognizing the impacts Dr Ibiyemi made on the energy sector in Nigeria.

Mr Mathew Ibiyemi noted that the award was emotional for him explaining that though his late dad was no longer with the family presently, his impacts continue to make him remembered globally.

Similarly, the Deputy Managing Director of Falcon Corporation, Mrs Audrey Ozigbo in an emotional moment who also bagged an award of Amazon of Gas development dedicated her award to the Late Dr Ibiyemi and two of his colleagues who stood by her company at the early stages of her company’s growth.

The hall was filled with many industry stakeholders who were also eager to share their encounters and the impact the Late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi had on their lives and businesses.

Other recipients awarded at the award ceremony include the GCEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, recognized at the award ceremony, Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Heirs Energies, Commission Chief Executive of Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr Gbenga Komolafe, United Bank for Africa, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, amongst a host of others.

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NNPC, First E&P achieve 20,000bpd production at OML 85

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and its joint venture partner in Oil Mining Lease 85, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited, have commenced oil production from the asset also known as Madu Field.

Production from the field which is located in shallow waters offshore Bayelsa State and operated by First E&P is expected to be at an average of 20,000 barrels per day, NNPC stated in a statement issued on Friday by its spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye.

It said, “The achievement is a testament to the commitment of the President Bola Tinubu administration to optimise production from the nation’s oil and gas assets through the provision of enabling environment for existing and prospective investors.”

Speaking on the development, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, described the commencement of oil production at the Madu Field as a significant milestone that would contribute to the larger goal of meeting the production required to drive revenue growth and boost the nation’s economy.

Kyari, who commended stakeholders for their support, also explained that the addition of 20,000 barrels per day by an indigenous oil player signaled the commitment of stakeholders to achieving economic development for Nigeria.

Recall that the Final Investment Decision on the development of the Madu Field and a sister field, Anyala, was taken by the NNPC Ltd/First E&P JV in 2018.

“Production from the Madu Field will be processed at the JV’s Abigail-Joseph Floating Production Storage and Offloading Unit, which has a crude oil storage capacity of up to 800,000 barrels,” NNPC stated.

The Federal Government has been making efforts to ramp up crude oil production in Nigeria by addressing issues of oil theft and pipeline vandalism

For instance, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Christopher Musa, met on Thursday to come up with additional strategies to halt crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Lokpobiri, who played host to the defence chief in his office in Abuja, said the move would enable the Federal Government to shore up crude oil production, increase oil revenue, address foreign exchange issues, and boost the overall economy.

On Monday, it was reported that Nigeria lost about N720bn in revenue as a result of the consecutive monthly decline in its crude oil production in February and March 2024.

The report also stated that the country’s inability to ramp up production in these months made it miss its crude oil production benchmark in the 2024 budget.

Nigeria’s 2024 budget set a crude oil production benchmark of 1.78 million barrels per day. This figure includes condensate along with crude oil.

But data from the latest April 2024 Monthly Oil Market Report of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries showed that Nigeria’s crude oil production (excluding condensates) witnessed the second consecutive monthly decline since the beginning of this year, as it dropped to 1.231 million barrels per day in March.

The Federal Government and operators in the sector have consistently blamed the drop in Nigeria’s crude oil production on theft and incessant pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.

As part of measures to tackle the menace, Lokpobiri, on Thursday, hosted the defence chief, who led a military delegation to the minister’s office.

Speaking before the meeting went into a closed-door session, Lokpobiri said, “The quickest way to solving our economic problems is through oil and gas.

“Today, oil sells for over $90/barrel, and if we ramp production and reduce the level of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, we will be able to raise the requisite money to fund not only our budget, take care of our forex problem and then ensure that we stabilise our economy as a country.”

The minister said security and investment in its oil assets usually get priority attention globally and expressed optimism that the defence chief, who is very familiar with the Niger Delta terrain, would address the situation.

“Your appointment is putting a round peg in a round hole because everyone in Bayelsa sees you as a Bayelsa man and there is no creek that you don’t know,” the oil minister told his guest, as he urged the military delegation to reduce crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to the barest minimum.

“By the time we increase production, we will be able to take care of the feedstock needed by Dangote Refinery, Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna refineries, and modular refineries that we have so that we can have full benefit across the entire value chain,” Lokpobiri stated.

On his part, the defence chief stated that crude oil being Nigeria’s economic mainstay, deserves all the military support it needs.

“We know all the challenges that we are facing, some of them directly, some indirectly, but we assure you that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are fully in support of you and your ministry.

“We will continue to provide the necessary support to ensure that the country benefits from the God-given resources that we have,” Musa stated.

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Eko DisCo reiterates commitment to improved service delivery

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The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) says it is dedicated to ensuring reliable power supply to its customers within the areas under its jurisdiction.

The acting Managing Director, EKEDC, gave the assurance during a town hall meeting, tagged, “Customers Consultative Forum” in Lagos on Thursday.

Customers at the forum were drawn from Ojoo Business Unit, which covers Isashi, Mabaonu, Afro media and Celestial Market.

Others include Iba town, Iba new site, Agboroko, Igbo-Elerin, Ojo, Alaba, Agric, Okoko, Shibiri, Riverine and Jakande area.

Momoh, who was represented by Mr Samuel Edoho, General Manager, Commercial of EKEDC, emphasised the company’s resolve to address customer concerns and enhance service delivery in Ojo Business Unit.

According to her, the forum served as an avenue for customers to voice their issues, while also enabling EKEDC to gather feedback on how to better serve its customers in the covered regions.

The EKEDC’s boss noted that in spite of the challenging economic situation, affecting optimal performance of businesses across the country, the company would continue to provide quality service and remarkable experience to its esteemed customers.

According to her, the company advises customers not to partake in any form of bribery nor condone extortion, or pay money to staff to influence or fast track service requests.

“We urge customers to formally lodge their complaints through the appropriate channels and obtain a Service Request Number (SRN) to enable tracking of such complaints until it is finally resolved.”

She revealed that some customers were still engaging in energy theft through meter by-pass, illegal connections and reconnections, saying that anyone caught involved in such criminal acts would be prosecuted.

According to her, EKEDC has made substantial investments in transformers, injection substations, and other essential equipment to optimise service delivery.

She noted that adequate transformers were available to meet the needs of customers within the network.

“We have more than enough transformers to service our customers.

“EKEDC has invested huge amounts of money to procure equipment for replacement and new installations within its franchise areas,” he said.

On Band A electricity customers, EKEDC boss said that the company would ensure every customer within its network has supply, adding that every customer is entitled to it.

She also said that more customers within the Eko Electricity Distribution Company’s franchise would experience and enjoy a guaranteed minimum of 20 hours of power supply daily.

This, she noted, was in line with the newly approved Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approves the upgrade of 33 additional feeders to Band A.

She said that the 33 new Band A feeders were approved, making a total of 54 for EKEDC.

“In our bid to serve our customers better, we are looking to even add more feeders to the list of our Band A feeders so that more customers can enjoy a guaranteed 20 hours of power supply daily.

“It is also our commitment to ensure that customers under other service bands, that is, Bands B to E also enjoy their guaranteed minimum supply hours while we work to improve our power supply.

“We are working tirelessly to eliminate supply downtime within our franchise area and achieve our goal of a stable and uninterruptible power supply,” Momoh explained.

On metering, the EKEDC’s boss said that the company had metered over 400,000 customers out of over 600,000 customers, while planning to meter every customer within the stipulated time-frame.

She revealed that  60 percent of the company’s customers had been metered.

“We also plan to meter about 600,000 customers within the next five years, with an annual target of 120,000 meter installations from 2024 to 2028.

“The company had initiated a comprehensive five-year metering strategy, aimed at eliminating estimated billing across its network,” she added.

In his response, Chairman of the EKEDC Customers Forum, Mr Bayo Oladosu, advised the company to create a platform for dialogue, address challenges and knowledge sharing to better serve the customers.

He urged EKEDC to invest more in effective service delivery and to prioritise resolving customer issues promptly to build and maintain trust.

Oladosu highlighted common customer concerns such as overbilling, erratic power supply, and infrastructure issues, stressing that the forum was essential in achieving peaceful resolutions.

He called on EKEDC to fulfil their promises to customers and ensure the installation of necessary equipment for improved service delivery.

Furthermore, he suggested the establishment of a dedicated platform for addressing customer issues amicably and recommended that customers take responsibility for securing EKEDC equipment in their communities.

The Chairman also advised customers to report instances of meter bypass and energy theft to mitigate such practices.

Oladosu emphasised the importance of customer cooperation in preventing vandalism and reducing energy theft, which directly impact the operations of distribution companies.

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