Nigerians moan incessant power outage in the country where many people are living in darkness despite efforts by the federal government to revitalise the electricity sector
By Anayo Ezugwu
NIGERIANS are becoming increasingly exasperated because of the incessant power outage in the country. Whereever you go, from east to west, north to south, tales of woe resulting from poor power supply resonates. From Anambra to Lagos, from satellite cities in Abuja to other states in the North, residents are living in darkness, some for more than four months, others for about a year and there appears no respite in sight. The worst is the losses occasioned by power surge which damages millions worth of electrical gadgets and installations whenever a flicker of light flashes and peters out instantly. The sad situation persists despite the glib assurances from the federal ministry of power, works and housing that power generation has grown to about 7000 megawatts recently.
One of the communities which encapsulate the ugly experience of Nigerians, especially the masses with regards to power outage is the Olorunlogbon Community in Ikotun area of Lagos State. In the last four months, life has been unbearable to residents as a result of power outage, businesses are closing down in the area all because of faulty transformer that could be easily repaired.
Many of the residents are impoverished because they spend more money trying to purchase fuel on a daily basis to power their homes. This is why they are appealing to Ikeja Electric, IE, to come to their rescue.
Tajudeen Kareem, chairman, Olorunlogbon Community Development Association, CDA, said: “For over 120 days, our community has been in darkness. We reported the case at IE head office in Alausa, and an official of the company came to take away the equipment. Since then, they have not brought it back to the community or replaced it. Members of the association have also visited the company, imploring the IE officials to repair the transformer and restore electricity. We are appealing to the company to save the community from darkness, because many tenants are now relocating from the area due to the power outage.
It is not only that the community is in darkness, hoodlums are taking advantage of it in the night to attack residents and steal their property. Denrele Oduwole, a resident of the community, said: “Residents are living in fear of being attacked by these hoodlums who are taking the advantage of darkness in the area to snatch bags from innocent residents. IE should replace the transformer and restore electricity supply to our community because we have been paying our monthly electricity bills promptly,” she said.
Another resident, Fatai Hammed, said the outage had affected his shoe making business, adding that the scarcity of fuel also compounded the problem.
Similarly, Nkiruka Diugwu, a business woman who sells frozen foods at Ojo area of Lagos, said epileptic power supply in the neighbourhood was affecting her business as she spends most of her profits to refuel her generator set. Her experiece is made worse by the perennial fuel scarcity in the country which makes it difficult to get fuel to power her generator.
“During the recent Christmas celebration we didn’t have light. We depended on generator to power our refrigerators and make sales. My children didn’t enjoy the holiday because they are always on the move looking for where to buy fuel. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for me and my family. Yet, they bring estimated bills at the end of the month. If you ask of the prepaid meter they will tell you to forget it that they don’t have the meters now,” Diugwu said.
Similarly, electricity consumers in Awka, Anambra State and its environs have also been living in total darkness for more than one month because of a faulty transmission station. The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, on Tuesday, February 6, acknowledged that the transmission station in Agu-Awka, Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra, was being repaired to restore power supply to the state capital.
Abdulkareem Labaran, assistant general manager (Operations) in Enugu office of TCN, appealed to electricity consumers in the areas affected by the blackout for more time, assuring that engineers were working round the clock to restore the station to normalcy.
Notwithstanding the faulty transmission station in Awka, power supply in 2018 has been at its lowest ebb as a result of breakdown of transmission systems. In two months the national transmission stations collapsed seven times. The latest was February 1.
Documents obtained from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, NESO, an organ of the TCN on Sunday February 4, showed that the national electricity grid crashed from a high of 4,699.9 megawatts on January 31, to 219MW on February 1. Last month the generation statistics of NESO showed that the country’s power grid collapsed six times in the first eight days of this year.
The collapse was attributed to disruptions to gas production as well as constraints to the supply of the commodity. A further analysis of the latest documents from NESO showed that power generation moved up to 3,663.3MW on February 2, after recovering from the first collapse of the month. The system performance chart also showed that the quantum of power generation on the grid on February 3, was 3,904.3MW, which was the most recent date as released by NESO on Sunday, February 4.
An analysis of the statistics showed that the national grid collapsed six times between January 1, and January 8. The report stated that the country’s power generation crashed from 3,667.5 megawatts on January 1, 2018, to 5.0MW on January 2, which was the first system collapse in the year. The second grid collapse occurred on January 3, as power generation on that day was 51MW. This moved up to 2,660.1MW the following day.
On January 5, the grid collapsed for the third time to 107MW. Three other grid collapses were recorded on January 6, 7 and 8, as the country’s power generation dropped to 173MW, 164.2MW and 72MW, respectively.