Must READ: Nigerian Student Provides A Way To Track NEPA Failure And How To Get Free Electricity

mitMIT grad student Chidube Ezeozue devotes energy to his fellow Nigerians.

“Electrical outages are a huge problem in Nigeria,” says Ezeozue, who is pursuing dual master’s degrees in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program and in electrical engineering and computer science. “The outages really interrupt everyday life.”

Nigeria’s supply of electricity is severely limited, resulting in rolling outages: Power is cut off every few hours and redirected to neighborhoods that were previously in the dark. While Nigerians know to expect these power cuts, they rarely know when the outages will happen, or how long they will last.

Since his admission to MIT in 2011, Ezeozue — who received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nigeria in 2008, followed by three years of work at a software startup — has created an app, with his brother, that crowdsources information about Nigerian power outages. With the app, called NepaSituation, people living in Nigeria can report outages. This data, when merged into an algorithm developed by Ezeozue, can help Nigerians predict when power outages may strike their neighborhoods, and how long those outages might last.

“With over 100 million cell phones in Nigeria, we knew it was an important resource we could tap into,” Ezeozue says. “It took a while to come up with this algorithm, because the outages are pretty randomized, and the app is only as good as the number of people who enter outage data.”

But Ezeozue has delved into more than just tracking the problem: He is also working to address Nigeria’s chronic energy shortage.

“I started a company that is working to provide solar electricity to businesses and families at zero upfront cost,” Ezeozue says. The company, SolarKobo, was recently funded by a seed grant from MIT’s Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, where Ezeozue is a fellow.

“Nigeria has plenty of solar energy available … for as low as $25 a month, we can make this resource available to those who are interested,” Ezeozue adds.

When he is not working toward the betterment of his homeland, Ezeozue researches machine learning and prediction algorithms in the research group of Una-May O’Reilly, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

FULL CREDIT TO MIT NEWS FOR THIS WORK

9 Comments

  • How I wish the Federal Government of Nigeria could do all in its power to provide the researcher, Chidube Ezeozue, with all the necessary collaboration which he needs to complete this project so it could be run on a country-wide scale to accommodate citizens in the country, and the patent right given to the researcher. On the contrary, the authorities might well ignore this brilliant development and/or kill it so as to continue to fund and make money out of NEPA instead of supporting the lad.

  • He took the bold step but not in the right direction. If Nigeria is to generate real power, she must be ready to guarantee steady supply to all. Nuclear energy might best describe the quantum of power supply Nigeria needs. Experimenting solar panels with retailing arrangement will not solve the problem at hand.

  • Please hurry up guys with that solar option. we need it urgently. With the availability of solar resources in Nigeria I wonder why the solar energy option has not being fully exploited.

  • My take on this matter is : Igbos have got the brain to move this nation fast forward to the level it is anticipated. But marginalisation against the Igbos has always been the reason this country is messed up.
    If they like they should sweep this project under the carpet just as they have been doing. One day they will have to import this kind of brains as expatriates to aid them in their national issues.
    Biafra! Biafra! Biafra!

  • It seems as if Ezeosue does not understand the enormity of NEPA’s damaging contribution to our country. No algorithm can predict the nature of the erratic supply of electricity in Nigeria, the situation is completely chaotic. This is because the people in charge, NEPA staff, politicians, civil servants etc are devilish or daft or insane.

  • It breaks my heart when I realize the Government has been fooling us in the Area of Electricity Supply. If a Country like Ghana although quite small,could enjoy 24hours of constant supply of Electricity. Then Nigerian Government need to have a serious rethink on time. The Animals in Government that enjoy stealing Public funds, who have traveled to other Countries and have seen how constant Supply of Electricity play an important aspect in the Economy of these Countries should stop because “Be not Decieved God is not mocked whatever a Man sow that he shall reap.

  • A nice fellow with a nice idea and vision!wake up Nigerians to our problem ourselves cos there is no place like home!Forward ever!

  • It is really sadden that lack of patriotism from our Government have not make power better, what is most annoying is the sum of money been claimed to have been spent on electricity with nothing to show for it, when considering the amount of money that is been waste on electricity someone will think we buy our generating plant from other planet not like other part of the world, Kudos to Chidube but what Nigeria need is what can generate appreciable quantity of electricity that can serve the industries for economic revolution, imagine a situation where cost of generator, diesel is been taking care of for Telecom industries, if that is done today within an hour everybody will start feeling the impart.

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