How improved is power supply? Nigerians speak



  • Average cumulative daily supply hits 10 hours
  • Use of generators drops
  • Supply declines in C’River, Delta, Jigawa, others

By Agaju Madugba, Ediri Ejoh, Oghene Omonisa, Favour Nnabugwu, Marie-Therese Nanlong, Bala Ajiya, Aliyu Dangida, Umar Yusuf, Yola. Anayo Okoli, Boluwaji Obahopo, Emmanuel Edukugho,  Aderonke Adeyeri, Ebun Sessou,  Emmanuel Unah,  Perez Brisibe, Godwin Oghre, Tom Mosesuyo, Daud Olatunji, Ola Ajayi, Chidi Nkwopara, Dayo Johnson and Vincent Ujumadu

Power

Saturday Vanguard investigations revealed that more than half of the states in the country and at least a larger proportion of Nigerian households receive above ten hours of cumulative power supply while others receive not less than four hours a day on the average, giving a marginal improvement of power supply in the country.

The “magic,” however, according to authorities at both the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) may have little or nothing to do with the transition in political power.


According to them, the development may not be unconnected with increase in generation and subsequent distribution of more units of electric power to the consumers. “For me, the link between the new regime and improved electricity power supply is that there has been an aggressive check on activities of pipelines vandals since the beginning of this government,” spokesman of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company,   Abdulazeez Abdullahi, told Saturday Vanguard.

As he put it, “the general improvement in power supply is coming within this period       because this government has clamped down on activities of vandals, checking vandalism and theft of pipes. Essentially the improvement in electricity power supply has to do with the improvement in supply of gas to the power generation companies.”

A cross section of Nigerians interviewed from across the country testify that some of them currently enjoy uninterrupted electricity for as long as about 18 hours daily contrary to situations in the past when they had to contend with several days and weeks without power. Experts believe that sustainable energy supply is predicated on running the power assets efficiently, mobilizing all available resources, leveraging domestic resources, scaling up of generation and transmission capacities and electrification of rural areas for GDP growth.

In fact, according to Kola Adesina, Chairman of Nigeria’s largest power generation plant, Egbin Power Plc, his plant has started generating above 1000 Megawatts of electricity into the national grid. This is against its 300 megawatts produced as at April.

According to him, “this is the first time since inception of the power plant that it will achieve the feat because of the investment and upgrade activities on the plant by the new investors. We are already envisioning a future of 2670 megawatts in a few years and even go beyond to 10,000 megawatts in the next decade, if gas supply, transmission expansion and demand permit.”

Abuja FCT: There’s capacity for more power distribution

There are reports that electric power supply has been stable in many parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the last five months. The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) also covers Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states. Its Manager, Public Relations, Ahmed Shekarau, explains the improvement in electricity power supply. According to him,  “we distribute what we are given.

Electricity

There is considerable improvement in allocation to the AEDC and we have enhanced our network to a level where we can  absorb up to 900 megawatts but what we have right now is 600 megawatts.

We have enhanced our network in a manner that if we are allocated up to 850 megawatts we can effectively distribute it to our customers.” But electricity power generator sellers and repairers in Abuja say have been recording  low patronage since the increase in power supply.

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nnodim, a dealer at Kuje said market had been bad for them because people hardly care about generators as there is electricity supply for more than 18 hours a day.

According to him, “market is bad now for generator dealers and repairers because people hardly put on their generators these days. We hardly sell one generator in a month. But I am happy because I now have electricity supply at home and  at the same time, it is a bad market.”

Lagos: Dealers in electric power generating sets lament

According to the spokesperson of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC, Pekun Adeyanju, “what is being experienced in the delivery of power supply and which is widely celebrated can be best attributed to the improving power from the TCN. Currently, we receive over 450 to 500 megawatts as against the previous figure of 300 megawatts.”

On its part, the Eko Electricity Distribution Company Limited currently receives between 500 and 600 megawatts, as against 300 megawatts previously received from the TCN, according to the company’s spokesman, Mr. Godwin Idemudia. Although it is not yet victory for electricity consumers who had been groaning for years under power disruptions and apparent recklessness of excessive charges demanded by power providers. But things seemed to get better with every passing day.

An engineer with a private construction company, Mr. Timothy Anigbo attributed the new turn of events in improved power supply to what he termed as “body language” of President Buhari who he said would not tolerate indiscipline and inefficiency. According to him, “it is a question of leadership personality and perception of the man in the saddle of affairs.

There is a world of difference between Buhari and Jonathan. Buhari is feared and respected as he won’t take things for granted. His body language says it all as you either perform or leave because it is no longer business as usual. In my area at Ijanikin, Ojo local government, electricity power is rationed, two days on, one day off.”

An automobile mechanic, Mukaila Moriah, acknowledged that improved power supply has brought a new lease of life to consumers, saying that artisans, vulcanizers, battery chargers, tailors, welders, barbers grinding machine operators, technicians, earn their living when there is effective power supply service.

Electricity-new“With constant power supply, I don’t worry again about my generator, no longer going always to the filling stations to buy petrol or diesel. We have light for at least 8 to ten hours ad day. For several days, I don’t bother about generator because of improved power. Generator technicians are almost out of business,” Moriah said.

According to Emeka Nwonye, a supervisor at a shop in Alaba that sells electric power generators, “we hope our sales will pick up as time goes on. The new regular power supply currently enjoyed by people is changing the situation for now. People are not buying much of the small sets known as face-me and I face you type of generators which used to make loud noise in most neigbourhoods. Let us see what the future holds, but so far, so good.”

Another dealer in power generating sets at Ebute Metta, Uche, says the decline In sales has virtually crippled him. According to him, “my life is crumbling, my business is going down. I don’t even know what else to do. All my entire life is committed into this business.  “I hoped to train my children to higher institution and raise my family when I started this business about eight years ago.

Today, it is a different story. I hardly feed my family. I can’t even play my role as a man in the house. I have spent all the profits to raise the children’s school fees for this term. I am left with nothing.  I don’t know why the sales dropped. The patronage has dropped. People no longer buy generators like it used to be.”

Electricity
Adamawa: Stable power supply

Before the inauguration of the present administration, power supply to Adamawa State and its environs was nothing to write home about. Residents of Yola had marched to the offices of Yola Electricity Distribution Company several times. But weeks after the present government came on board, consumers started witnessing improved and regular power supply.

The improvement is so significant to the extent that most of the communities in the Boko Haram occupied areas where electricity supply was either disconnected or interrupted have been restored.  All these areas now enjoy regular electricity supply up to about 15hours a day.   The Proprietor of Albarka Pharmacy Ltd, one of the major dealers of pharmaceuticals in Yola, Otene Ogoche, admitted that there has been tremendous improvement in electricity supply in the past few months.

One of the major distributors of electric generating sets based in the commercial area of Mohammed Mustapha road in Dutse, Mallam Mukailu Hassan, regretted that, “Now there is sharp drop in sale of generators by his company between late June and now.  The usual rush for our products has declined considerably due to the steady supply of electricity but this does not mean that we do not sell some of our products.”

The public Affairs Officer of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company, Alhaji Aliyu Hassan Ardo, attributed the increase in power supply to the steady maintenance embarked upon by his company.  According to him, the company is currently engaged in rigorous maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction of its installations, especially in areas ravaged by the insurgents.

Yobe: The people celebrate

Electric power supply has increased in Yobe since the onset of the Buhari administration about five months ago. According to a resident in Damaturu, Ibrahim Audu, “the Federal Government has brought solace to us here in Yobe with the improvement in the supply of electricity. Before the general elections, Yobe suffered neglect as virtually all parts of the state were in darkness, but now we used to have light for about 12 hours a day.

Another resident, Hajiya Hauwa Salihu, commended what she described as the transparent efforts of the Yobe Electricity Distribution Company. According to a dealer in electricity generators, “we are happy for the improvement but our market has gone down drastically in the past four months. Prior to the stability in electricity supply, I used to sell more than 15 sets of generators in a day but now I hardly sell one.

Kaduna: It’s looking good

Before about 200 megawatts servedKaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi states. Now the situation  has improved because it was worse about three months ago when the supply was very low. With the improved supply we now get up to 300 megawatts and sometimes we even get as much as 400 megawatts.

Now people can get up to 18 hours supply of electricity per day. But when the supply was bad was the period we were getting 200 megawatts so that it could not go round. The rainy season has also helped in the improvement of electricity as it has helped to increase the supply from the hydro stations because they rely on water to generate electric power.

Plateau: Supply is still irregular

Residents of some areas of Plateau State have mixed feelings about the reported improvement in electricity power supply nationwide. While some respondents  acknowledge the improvement, some others say there is no such thing as improvement arguing that in some instances they they have blackout running into several weeks. According to a Jos resident, Eze Achi, “there has been an improvement but we should not celebrate yet.

We hear they are contemplating increase in tariff but the time is not ripe, this little improvement should not call for increase. Another respondent, Yakubu Azi, who lives at Fudawa area of Jos also confirmed the improved supply of electricity noting however that, “we have been having constant supply here, it is better than what it used to be but other communities in our area here are not so lucky because my friends from nearby areas like Yan-Trailer, Three Container and others do come here to iron their clothes, barb their hair and even charge phones.

I  commend the Jos Electricity Distribution Company but the improvement should be seen in all communities.” And, according to another resident, Mr. Isaac Shobayo,  “it has not been rosy at all. I can tell you that in my area in Farin Gada, the light has not even blinked not to talk of being epileptic in the last four weeks.

It has been darkness all through. I use prepaid metre and it is annoying that even without the light, when you want to pay at the time they bring the light, you must pay the fixed tariff. I don’t know why it is like that, Management of Jos Electricity Distribution Company, should look into this.”

But the Assistant Public Relations Officer at the Jos Electricity Distribution Company, JEDC, Mrs. Lubabatu Rabiu told Saturday Vanguard that supply has increased because supply currently being received is higher than what was obtained in the past. She said, “about 4,500 megawatts is being generated nationwide and we get 271 megawatts.

You know we cover four states of Plateau, Bauchi, Benue and Gombe and we have to make available supply go round. Between February and March this year, we were getting 160 megawatts but since the power generation has improved, distribution too must improve because we cannot hoard power.”

Jigawa: Electric power still epileptic

Presently, power supply in the state has dropped with power supply divided into two categories. People living under the 33kva can have 15-18 hours  of uninterrupted power supply while those under 11kva usually get supply of electrify between 10-12 hours per day compared to what was obtainable in the recent past when residents enjoyed electricity power supply for as much as between 20 to 22 hours every day.

A resident in Dutse, Ado Kudai, who is a welder, told our correspondent that in the past, they enjoyed uninterrupted power supply to the extent they abandoned their power generating sets. But now, according to him, “we only have electricity supply for only five to seven hours in a day. But Khadija Ali, a shopkeeper dealing in assorted drinks and water commended KEDCO as according to her, the area is under the 33 kva platform and enjoying up to 16 hours of electricity power supply daily.

Abia: Drop in sale of power generating sets

Electric power supply has improved in Abia State, especially in Umuahia, the state capital and Aba, the commercial capital of the state. Residents of the two cities say they enjoy electricity supply for upwards of between 15 and 18 hours daily, contrary to what they had about three months ago.

According to Mr. Chile Ogbonna who resides in Aba “honestly, we are happy that EEDC has improved in the supply of electricity in Aba. At least, I am sure of my area. May be it is the fear of Buhari that is driving them. But the issue of exorbitant estimated bill is still there. It is one problem they must work hard to address. We need pr-paid meters to be to know what we actually consume.”

A trader who deals in electric power generators and other electrical equipment in Umuahia said his sales in the last three months have dropped a development which he attributed to the improved supply of electricity.

Kogi: Decline in power supply

There has been steady decline in power supply to many parts of Lokoja, the state capital and across the state with many areas like New–Layout, Ganaja, Felele and many other parts, experiencing epileptic power supply, and most times total darkness. Worst hit is Otokiti area which for about three months has been living in total darkness.

A number of residents of the state who spoke to Saturday Vanguard lamented that the situation of electricity in their area has affected their their businesses and social life. Mary Ahmodu, a resident of Phase 11, Lokongoma, Lokoja said:,  “for some months now, we have been enduring four hours day and four hours night electricity supply in our area. To make the matter worse, the voltage of the light has dropped drastically.

We keep hearing from our people from other states that their condition has improved but we do not know when that will happen in Kogi State. Another resident, Alhaji Kabiru Yusuf who lives in Karaworo area of the state capital said the condition of the electricity could only be said to have improved comparatively in view of the no light situation the area was subjected to in the past. When Saturday Vanguard visited the Kogi AEDC office, a hostile state Regional Manager said that, “we cannot judge ourselves and I cannot judge myself either. It is left for the people outside to say whatever they like.”

Cross Rivers: Blackout in many areas

Electricity supply to Calabar, the Cross River State capital and other parts of the state plunged to abysmal level from   the month of August effectively wiping away any gains experienced in improvement of power supply in   the later part of 2014 and first quarter of 2015.

Curiously, for several weeks no explanation was offered to consumers by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, on the cause of the power outage   until protests by placard carrying youths from Calabar South forced them to place announcement on radio stations to declare that one of its transmission stations at Alaoji, in Aba,   Abia State   broke down and that engineers have been dispatched to effect repairs on the faulty power transmission station.

Since that announcement, nothing has been heard from the DISCO apart from visits by ladder carrying officials of the company who go around homes severing cables of customers who they claim have defaulted in paying their bills.

Also severely affected are the business centre operators. A visit by Saturday Vanguard to the Non -Academic Staff Union office,   at the University of Calabar, the section reserved for business centre operators, the cacophony of noise that emanates from the colony of generators that dot the entire span of the business arcade was overpowering.

Port Harcourt: It is still epileptic

Some parts of Port Harcourt, capital, of Rivers state have been witnessing epileptic power supply in the last two weeks. In June there was an improvement in the power situation as many homes had enjoyed electricity for as much as eighteen hours. But this dropped in the last two weeks.  A resident in Diobu area of Port Harcourt who simply gave his name as Emenike said there was nothing to celebrate yet in the power sector because of the fluctuation,

“We had what we could call steady power for about three months, between July and September but it has suddenly dropped this October. So far, we cannot boast of consistent power for as much as twelve hours,” he said.

Delta: Consumers’ debts stalling power supply

According to the Ughelli branch manager of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, Pius Ajeh, power generation has generally improved across board in the country with distribution companies mandated to supply electricity for an average of six hours daily.

According to him, “though consumers want electricity supply 24 hours as their definition of improved power supply, infrastructure deficiency is a major challenge in achieving this task as most of our 33 KVA feeders which are our primary distribution voltage are already overloaded hence the need for load shedding. Also, the inability of consumers to pay their bills is a major challenge.

Last month alone, we were billed N214 million but we were only able to collect N78 million with a balance carried over of N136 million and we are charged one per cent of the total monthly bill that is uncollected making us pay N1.36 million of that amount. For Emmanuel Emurotu who runs a laundry service along Market road, Ughelli, “if there is an improvement or not, I am yet to notice it.

What I know is that, there are some areas in town that enjoy relatively steady power supply while others hardly even get an average of 10 miutes power supply a day.” Most communities in Sapele, Oghara, Mosogar and Jesse do not have regular power supply with some of them experiencing supplies between 12noon and 2pm daily while some others have theirs between   10.30 pm and 3.30 while Mosogar community has been under permanent blackout for seven months.

At Oghara, Ethiope West local government area the BEDC, through its area Business Manger, Engr. V. Okey, operating from Sapele said the area owes an outstanding bill of N100 million, adding that the area should not expect power supply until it liquidates its debt. He also confirmed that Mosogar community owes N30 million with Oghara community debt as  N40 million.

Electricity-new

But, according to the Ovie of Oghara, HRM Noble Eshimetan, who briefed the press recently,  “my Kingdom does not owe BEDC N100m, as it claimed. They have no evidence that such a huge amount is owed by my people.

Akwa Ibom: Low voltage


“The problem of power outage and low voltage put together are because our transformers and other equipment are old and need replacement which I don’t think is possible at the moment except there is a bail-out by the Federal Government,” a source said.

When contacted, the Business Manager of PHED Company in Uyo, Engineer A. A. Dehunsi, said they were not authorized to speak with the press on the current power situation but hinted that the epileptic power supply within the last one week was because of the equipment and facilities upgrade at the Oron Road Main Transformer Room.

Ogun: Mixed reactions

There are mixed reactions from the  people in Ogun State on the level of power supply. While some households lamented poor power supply, some others say they enjoyed stable power supply. Residents at Elega, Adatan,   Aiyetoro,   parts of Sagamu,   Ijebu-Ode, Ilaro and Sango say they have not been enjoying improved power supply. But, a resident  of Ijeun Lukosi in Abeokuta,

Bunmi Mustapha, said she enjoys 23 hours of power supply while another resident, Kola Olayinka who lives at Asero says the power supply has improved.

Oyo: Conflicting reports

There are contradictory reports concerning power supply within Ibadan metropolis with larger proportion of residents saying that there has been  improved electric power supply in their areas since President Muhammadu Buhari took over the mantle of leadership.

Mr. Tunde Owoyela, an electric welder at Unity Bus stop, Ologuneru, Ibadan said, “since President, Buhari came to power, my business has improved because I use electricity almost throughout the day but when I get home in the evening, there is always power outage. Prior to this time, I was a commercial motorcyclist when I did not have light to work. I always bought diesel but when I could no longer afford it, I became okada rider overnight.”

Imo: Epileptic power supply

In Imo, owners of beer parlours and restaurants can neither chill their drinks nor preserve their perishable foods. In most cases, electrical and electronic appliances were sadly transformed into items of furniture in the homes. According to a steel fabricating engineer, Izuchukwu Ugochukwu, “public power supply has been a source of serious worry for all self employed citizens, especially people who depend largely on public power supply to run their production lines.”

Although the epileptic power problem is yet to be finally resolved, some noticeable improvement has been recorded in Imo State. Areas that hitherto experienced total blackout, now boast of power.

Ondo: Tremendous improvement

The power supply across Ondo state has improved tremendously in the last two months compared to past experiences, according to residents in some of the areas. Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, 70-year-old Pa Olayinka said that, “we are truly experiencing change in the area of electricity supply in Ondo state.

Before now, it was difficult to stock our fridge or freezer because of power failure but now, we can do that without any fear. If the supply continues to be regular 60 per cent of our problems in this country will be solved

Another respondent, Akeem Gbadamosi, applauded government for the improvement in the electricity supply. He said that before now he used to buy petrol of N1000 every three days to fuel his generator but that the situation has changed with the regular power supply in the state .

Efforts to speak with the   Manager, Ondo Business Unit of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company,   BEDC, Emmanuel Auta, proved abortive but an official of the company said that, “it is what is generated that will be supplied.”

Culled from Vanguard
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