Nigeria’s Power Predicament: Voices from homes, businesses

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Nigeria’s Power Predicament: Voices from homes, businesses, Lucy OgalueBy Lucy Ogalue

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents’ recent struggle with power fluctuations is a tale of two worlds—household grappling with the daily inconveniences and economic strains; and businesses fighting to stay afloat.

Nigerians echo a resounding call for change, underscoring the urgent need for averagely efficient power provision.

The matter seems to be dire in Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has blamed it on vandals.

Power outage: Business owners, residents groan over outages

The TCN, through Mrs Ndidi Mbah, its General Manager, Public Affairssaid the company’s 330 kilovolts (KV) Gwagwalada-Katampe transmission line has been destroyed by vandals.

The outcome of this, she said, is reduction of power sent to FCT residents by 250 megawatts (MW) in Abuja.

This is taking its tolls on the lives of residents and their businesses.

Amidst her calm ambiance, a middle-aged woman, Mrs Adeola Ademola, recounts the economic consequences of power fluctuations on her household.

Ademola said: “It has been quite challenging. Every time the power goes out, we are left in the dark, literally and figuratively.

“Our children struggle to study without light, and I worry about the food in the fridge going bad. It is not just about inconvenience; it is about the extra expenses too.

“ Last month, our television got fried during a voltage surge, and we had to dip into our savings to replace it.

“ And we should not forget the rising electricity bills! We try to conserve energy, but it is hard when the power is so unreliable.”

Similarly, Mrs Ojali Oche, a housewife, expressed sadness at the difficulties and losses she suffered due to power fluctuations in her home.

“Some weeks ago, my husband, who is a civil servant, returned from an official trip and gave me money to shop for the house.

“As I usually do, I drove to one of the suburbs to buy a full goat, a basket of tomato, one carton of chicken, and some perishables.

“Little did I know that there will be power fluctuations the same week I bought those items, which was supposed to last my family for about a month.

“Sadly, I disposed most of the vegetables because they went bad, and the other items were distributed to my neighbours, so it does not also go bad in my hands,’’Oche said.

“she said most of perishables have gone bad and had to be thrown away while those that could be salvaged were given out to neighbours.

Mr Isah Ibrahim, an entrepreneur, shares his ordeal and the realities faced by businesses in the face of the epileptic power supply.

`Power fluctuations are a nightmare for us, manufactures.  Every time the lights flicker, our machines grind to a halt, and that means lost productivity.

“We have had orders delayed, deadlines missed, and customers left disappointed. Moreover, the damage to our equipment is a constant drain on our finances.

“Last month alone, we spent a small fortune repairing and replacing machinery damaged by voltage spikes. It is a vicious cycle, you see.

“ The more downtime we have, the more money we lose, and the harder it becomes to stay afloat,’’ Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim prayed the government to come to the aid of Nigerians and ensure a steady power supply in the country.

Also speaking, Mr Robert Ikechukwu, a businessman, expressed his frustration at the erratic power supply in his place of business.

Ikechukwu said: “we have tried everything, backup generators, surge protectors, you name it, but these are just Band-Aid solutions.

“What we really need is a reliable power supply. Averagely efficient power is not enough. We need stability and consistency.

“We need to know that when we flip the switch, the lights will come on and stay on. Our businesses are suffering, our finances are draining, how long can we continue?’’

The economic impact of power fluctuations goes beyond the immediate inconveniences. For households like the Ademolas and the Oches, the unpredictability of power outages disrupts daily routines and strains already tight budgets.

Meanwhile, businesses owners like Ibrahim and Ikechukwu face tangible losses in productivity, revenue, and damaged equipment replacement or repairs.

The Federal Government says it is aware of the social and economic implications of the power crisis and doing everything possible to fix the situation.

Consequently, the federal government said it was set to increase electricity megawatts from 4000 to 6000 within the next three to six months.

The Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, said this in Abuja while meeting with the Heads of Power Agencies and other stakeholders in the industry.

Adelabo said, “4000 megawatts is not acceptable, and we have plans to increase the megawatts to a minimum of 6000 to 6500 within the next three to six months.

“We need to do what we need to do to get the power sector to the desired level. Nigerians deserve the right to ask for good governance from people who are elected to power.

“They deserve the right to ask for improvement in service. People cannot be paying for darkness. What they should be paying for is light. There should be consistent improvement in supply on a daily basis.

“So, I also want to use the opportunity to reassure Nigerians that what we are experiencing is temporary. We are addressing the root cause of all these issues, “he said.

Power experts say to improve power generation and distribution in Nigeria, there is need for more investment in power-related infrastructure, adoption new technologies and integration of energy sources.

News Agency of Nigeria.