Some people love to spend their Christmas/New Year’s holiday in the company of family and loved ones. But whether they choose to have a party, stay at home or visit friends and loved ones, ultimately, they tend to have one thing in common. Nigerians love to have power supply in their homes during the festive seasons.
But as Christmas gradually approaches, the expectations of Nigerians to enjoy constant power supply during the period seems to be doubtful with the recent drop in power generation.
In spite of the recent privatisation of the power sector and promises by the Federal Government to improve power supply by the end of 2014, power generation has fallen from over 4,000 megawatts to as low as 2,900MW in the period.
Meanwhile, a cross section of Nigerians who spoke to our correspondents said the current situation points to the likelihood of another noisy festive season for them as they expect that their generators would again come to their rescue in the absence of public power supply.
For instance, a resident of Tanke in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, Mrs. Yemi Mohammed, who described power supply in the area as poor, scored the Federal Government and the various private companies involved in the privatisation drive of the power sector low.
Mohammed said she had already lost hope in getting good value from the privatisation of the sector.
She said, “There is always blackout in Ilorin. We never get to enjoy power supply for up to six hours a day in my area and the situation is the same in the places I visit in the city. For example, I have a sister at Gaa Akanbi area of Ilorin and all she does is complain about the situation too.
“Honestly, I don’t expect constant power supply during this coming festive season because we didn’t enjoy constant power supply during the period last year. So the wise thing to do is to service the generator and make sure it never lacks fuel during the period; that’s the only way my family and I can enjoy being at home during the Christmas holiday.”
The situation is similar at Arikila New Layout, Sokoto, capital of Sokoto State, where Mr. Lanre Sodiq lives. Sodiq said he doesn’t expect constant power supply in his area with the recent drop in power generation.
“For us here, blackout is normal so I wouldn’t deceive myself and expect anything different during Christmas or New Year’s holiday. Besides, power supply has been particularly poor these days and we have been made to understand that its generation has dropped. So as usual, I will put on my generator (during the Christmas holiday),” he said.
Similarly, a resident of Ketu, Lagos, Mr. Michael Ogunmakin, said houses in over 200 streets in the area were affected by a general blackout which had lasted three days.
Ogunmakin said some business owners in the area were already proposing relocating to other parts of the state where they would have improved power supply.
He said, “Many people I know including business owners on streets like Anibaba, Oduntan and Onagunwa have been complaining bitterly about the poor power supply in this area. Some of the business owners are already considering moving out of the area but the question is ‘can they be sure of better power supply in other parts of Lagos too?’
“We have not had power supply for three days now and we have been burning fuel seriously. If we calculate the amount some of us spend on fuelling generators, I’m sure it will be enough to do something meaningful like buy a car or even build a house.”
In Benin City, Edo State, no fewer than 1,000 electricity consumers took to the streets on Monday to protest against poor service by the management of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.
The protesters, who are also not expecting improved power supply during the Christmas season, took their protest to the headquarters of the company at Akpakpava, Benin. They questioned the payment of a fixed charge of N750 in spite of the poor power supply in the state.
One of the protesters, who gave his name simply as Timothy, urged the company to live up to the expectations of Nigerians, who anticipated better electricity supply since the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
Another protester, Col. Clement Okotie (retd), said the situation was worse in Ugbowo, as there had not been a functional transformer in the area for two months despite the financial contributions made by members of the community.
He said, “In my area, they took the transformer away for more than three months. When they eventually brought the transformer back, they said it had been vandalised.
“When the transformer was fixed after community efforts, they gave us power for three hours per day for 10 days.
“Now, they brought a bill of N21,000 to my house. I am not a second class citizen. So, I don’t see any reason anyone should make any Nigerian a slave in his own country.”
In Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Mrs. Alice Ayangbayi who lives at Idi-omo area of the state, said she had grown tired of the situation. She said the low voltage power supplied to residents in the area has damaged some of their appliances.
“We are tired of all this and the ridiculous part of it is that we will still be expected to pay for the power we don’t get. How silly can that be? This is not governance,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with three companies for solar power generation in Nigeria.
The information was contained in a statement signed by the Assistant Director in charge of Press in the Ministry of Power, Patricia Deworitshe.
According to the statement, the companies are Solius NGPC; Peoples Home Association and Solar Force Nigeria Limited.
Solius NGPC is expected to inject 1,000MW into the national grid; Peoples Home Association, 500MW; while Solar Force Company would produce 1MW each of solar energy to 200 different villages in six states in the country.
– The Punch