It’s the first of its kind at Egbin Power Plc. A clear demonstration of what happens to businesses when the thinking at the top is reimagined. You could touch the excitement and taste the joy of employees. It’s the celebration of excellence and appreciation of the men and women who run the 1,320MW thermal power plant. It’s the ‘Betters’, the flagship reward and recognition platform for Egbin Power employees. Kunle Aderinokun reports
The term ‘Better’ is the mantra for work philosophy at Egbin Power, the largest privately run thermal plant in sub-Sahara Africa. It propels employees to work towards being better – consistently, resiliently, and innovatively. So, no Egbin employee is satisfied with hitting the mark; every success becomes a springboard for achieving something better.
Monday, June 14, 2021 was Egbin employees’ day in the sun, the climax of the Performance Improvement Celebration (PIC). The celebration was glorious, with lots of laughter, great food, drinks, music, and gifts. Yes, the gifts! The different categories had a tinge of fun with captions like “The Honorary Engineer”, “Egbin Star Faculty”, “Firefighter Award”, “Catalyst Award”, “Power Angel”, and “Smooth Operator”, among others. Egbin’s reward and recognition scheme, among others, also has the E-flex wallet, a platform where employees can earn instant rewards in tokens that can be converted to cash, by participating in key projects.
The on-going transformation at Egbin Power post privatisation has led to consistent performance, with the plant hitting peak generation of 970MW this year. During a recent visit to the facility, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, said the turnaround of the plant was indicative of the quality of expertise and huge investment injected into the plant since its take-over by Sahara Group.
“It’s an immense privilege to be here and see the progress at Africa’s biggest thermal plant. Not surprised by the obvious quality of operational activities and the value addition since takeover by the Sahara Group,” Kyari said after a tour of the facility.
And how has Egbin been able to up and sustain the ante of achievements? “We extract value from an endless pursuit of better. When you are the largest thermal power plant in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, better becomes the most appropriate response to ensuring seamless and efficient power generation. We have seen our better mantra transform operations and performance, while we keep committing ourselves to being better,” explained Temitope Shonubi, Chairman, Egbin Power Plc.
According to Shonubi, “Egbin has 1,320MW capacity. As of the time we took over, the plant was generating 300MW which is abysmal 22 percent. As of today, our generation capacity has surged, and we are doing 89 percent. We hit generation peak of 970MW this year despite challenges many thanks to expertise and dedication of our employees and support of our stakeholders. We are delighted at the tireless commitment of our employees to our vision of lighting up Nigeria and ultimately, Africa.”
Better Egbin. Better Power Generation. Better Environmental Sustainability. Better Healthy Lifestyle. Better Carbon Footprint. These are phrases that have become imprinted in the hearts of Egbin Power employees. They also wear the words as garlands, a constant reminder of the overarching better phenomenon. Then of course, there‘s the robust Better Reward and Better Recognition policy, indicating the commitment of the business to celebrating better in a transparent and sustainable manner.
The highpoint of the ‘Betters’ was the moment when “Egbin’s Number One” for 2020 was unveiled. The hall went quiet as everyone waited with bated breath. It had been a keen contest involving the top 10 employees in 2020. The winner, Abiola Sodiq Aribilola of the Mechanical Maintenance Department, was on the seventh heaven after he heard his name. The audience went wild and thereafter, Abiola drove off from the event in a brand-new 2020 Hyundai Accent saloon car.
“This is way beyond what I believed was up for grabs when it emerged that I was among the top 10 employees. I can barely contain my excitement and just want to salute the management for empowering and rewarding us as we continue in our quest for better. I also owe the entire team a debt of gratitude as it’s always about everyone working together to get the job done at Egbin,” said the elated Aribilola.
HR experts say effective employee reward and recognition policies as the one at Egbin Power contribute immensely to the improvement of organisational values, while enhancing employee work ethic, team productivity, and customer experience. “Reward and recognition have gone beyond cash. For us at Egbin, we have a holistic approach that also includes peer-to-peer recognition which gives employees a strong in the determination of how employees are recognized and celebrated. This enhances positive reinforcement in Egbin, making our employees happier, more collaborative and better,” said Funmi Adeniji, Chief Human Resources Officer at Egbin Power.
With an installed capacity of 1,320MW, Egbin is easily Africa’s largest privately run thermal plant. The omens of an empowered and collaborative workforce portend great tidings for Egbin as the organization prepares for its Phase II expansion plan projected to add between 1,750 megawatts (MW) and 1,900MW to Nigeria’s power generation pool.
“The project will add impetus to Sahara Group’s unwavering commitment to reducing gas flaring and ensuring that we play a leading role in reducing carbon emissions and enhancing the global carbon footprint. Ultimately, we would have a state-of-the-art facility that is generating clean energy sustainably and paving the way for seamless energy transition in Nigeria and beyond,” Shonubi said.
He added: “With environmental sustainability and efficiency in place, we expect the project to drive reduction in cost of generating power and facilitate corresponding positive impact on accessibility and affordability. It will also present an opportunity to expand our reach by pushing the power to neighboring countries via the West Africa Power Pool.”
Another aspect worthy of note is Egbin’s commitment to promoting global environmental sustainability. The company introduced 150 bicycles, electric buggies and scooters to facilitate clean commuting by employees, healthy living, and enhanced productivity. It also operates a closed-circuit water system which conserves energy and water, a process that has helped preserve trillions of liters of fresh water over the years.
The company said the plan is to ramp this up to 500 bicycles and additional 200 electric scooters in line with Sahara Group’s climate action campaign.
This is in addition to ongoing green operations/policies, tree planting, monthly walk-to-work exercises, and sundry multiple stakeholder collaboration.
The excitement at the ‘Betters’ was so much that employees were already looking forward to the 2021 edition and what the prize would be for “Egbin’s Number One”.
Ultimately, the prize for Nigeria would be sustained power generation, and hopefully, as the transmission and distribution leg of the power value chain improve, uninterrupted, accessible and affordable power supply.