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Electricity woes: No end in sight as consumers lament

By Eno-Abasi Sunday and Gbenga Salau (Lagos), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) Lawrence Njoku (Enugu), Kingsley Jeremiah (Abuja), Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos), Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri), Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh (Uyo) Ayodele Afolabi (Ado Ekiti), Nnamdi Akpa (Abakaliki) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) and Sony Neme (Asaba)
16 December 2018   |   4:27 am
When the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, revealed to a packed audience in Calabar, Cross River State, that the country’s current power generation had risen to 7, 000 megawatts ....

Akwa Ibom Power Plant

When the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, revealed to a packed audience in Calabar, Cross River State, that the country’s current power generation had risen to 7, 000 megawatts (mw), he elicited a resounding clap from his lieutenants and other government officials present.

At the gathering, which was the fourth retreat for top directors, heads of units and chief executives of agencies and parastatals under the ministry, the other members of the audience just stared at each other in total disbelief, wondering where the 7, 000 megawatts were distributed to.

In a manner typical of Nigerian politician, Fashola continued: “Three years ago, the story was that power generation was the main problem of Nigeria. The story was that distribution companies were complaining that they did not have enough energy to distribute to Nigerians.

“We were distributing averagely 2, 690 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians, but today, that story has changed, distribution has risen to 5, 222 megawatts, an all-time national high.“Transmission has reached 7, 000, while generation has reached 7, 000. The problem has not finished, but all we can say is that we have made progress.”

Not many within and outside the country agreed with Fashola’s claim. And one of the most poignant disapprovals came from the African Development Bank (AfDB), where its President, Akinwumi Adesina, while speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum in Sandton, South Africa not only countered the claim, but described as “unacceptable,” the fact that the country was delivering only 4, 500 megawatts of electricity.

“My own perspective in everything that I do is that my philosophy of development is simple; if I am not ashamed of something I don’t change it. But if I am ashamed of something, I’d change it,” he told CNBC Africa adding, “I don’t think its acceptable that Nigeria is hovering in 4, 500 megawatts space. No. Nigeria ought to be in 40, 000 megawatts space. That is what we should be talking about.”

While pointing out that the bank has invested over $200m in driving power generation and transmission in the country, he added, “I think that we as a bank are strongly supportive, we’ve been investing in Nigeria for quite some time, we have been working with the minister of power right now… We are working with them on the Transmission Company of Nigeria, in which we have invested over $200m to help to improve the transmission line.

“We’ve supported Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company because they had issues in terms of liquidity and we provided $200m to help them unblock some of those things,” Akinwunm­­i said.Nevertheless, not many Nigerians believe that the Federal Government still has capacity to meet its target of increasing power generation to 9, 000 megawatts by the end of 2018.

This explains why as Christmas draws nigh, many who don’t want their fun spoilt by the despicable performance of power distribution companies across the country are oiling their power generating plants.Without word-mincing, power supply across the country has plummeted dangerously, as reflected in the diminishing number of hours that consumers enjoy power supply.

But what looked like the greatest dampener for anyone that was still hopeful of a miracle in terms of power supply, Wednesday, came from Fashola, when he said the Federal Government should not be blamed for the problems besetting the power sector.Speaking at the Nextier Power Dialogue in Abuja the minister reportedly blamed the past administration for disposing off assets that would have been used to revamp the sector, stressing that power generating and distribution companies were the ones now running the sector, and his role as minister is now narrowed to oversight, regulatory and policy.

“There are problems without a doubt and we must deal with them. But let me remind you, all of the assets that the Ministry of Power used to control for power were sold by the last administration before I came. And so if you don’t have power, it is not the government’s problem. Let us be honest.

“The people who are operating the power sector, generation and distribution are now privately owned companies. I am here because I am concerned. If your telephone is not working, it is not the Minister of Communication that you go to. Let us be very clear.

A trip to some states shows just how hopeless the power situation has become, as only a handful of consumers are satisfied with power supply, while the overall power picture suggests that it may be time for Nigerians to begin to build their power plants.

Abuja, Residents Express Satisfaction Over Electricity Supply
Most residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, appear to be at home with the quantity of electricity supply that they get daily, just as they stressed that the situation could be better.Some of them, who reside in Kubwa, Maitama, Garki, New Yaya, Dawaki, Apo, Lokogoma and other areas, noted that electricity supply averages eight to 20 hours daily.

But in Mararaba, Nyanya axis, it has been a situation of about four hours supply per day in the last two months.For Glory John, who resides in the Garki area of the FCT, power supply has witnessed significant improvement averaging about 20 to 23 hours daily, the reason she and most of her neighbours do not have need for power generating sets.John said: “Power supply in my area has greatly improved. I enjoy steady electricity supply daily. I mean 23 hours out of 24 hours and I’m impressed with the rate at which power is being distributed.”

Abuh Ojamaliya, who resides in the same locality buttressed John’s claim, noting that supply for the period she spends at home was commendable.“I can’t really say about when I am not home, but from the time I am back from work, that is by 5pm, there is always light till the next day,” Ojamaliya said.Another resident, Oyebanjo Akinyemi, who resides along Usuma Street, Maitama, disclosed that he enjoys electricity supply for at least 20 hours daily.In her contribution, Stephanie Abdulsalaam, said “Sometimes we go two straight weeks with uninterrupted power supply. When supply eventually goes off, it doesn’t last more than 30 minutes before it is restored.

In Lagos, It’s Different Strokes For Different Folks
RESIDENTS of Lagos State have different stories to tell as far as electricity supply is concerned. While none boasts of enjoying 24-hour supply, some are happy with what they have in their part of the state, while others are livid for being permanently kept in darkness.

A resident of Ogba, Emeka Ugorji, rated the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) high for power supply to his area, which he puts at about 70 per cent, even though he complained that for seven days now, his flat has been in darkness, because the prepaid metre installed in his flat takes almost a week to be activated.

But another resident, Innocent Duru, also supplied electricity by IKEDC has a totally different story to tell.“At Igando where I stay, we don’t see light for some days, and whenever there is supply, it is only for a few hours,” Duru said. Seyi John who resides in the Mazamaza area of the state says supply from Eko Electricity Distribution Company has been “very erratic” with the staggered supply lasting not more than six hours per day. He also complained that monthly bills were usually very high, while officials would approach them for tips to prune down the overloaded figures.

According to him, residents who comply with their demands end up paying less. He also frowned at the attitude of the company officials saying they never attend to reported faults, repair damaged poles, transformers or cable unless they are tipped.

Lukman Olagoke, a resident of Ikorodu, said electricity supply in the area has remained epileptic as usual. “We have not been supplied with enough electricity at all. As it stands now, we enjoy supply between 5am and 7am, 12noon and 3pm, while the final supply is between 9pm and 12am.

For Mrs. Bukky Bassey, who lives in Ipaja, power supply has been very low in the area of late because of recurring damages to electrical installations. “I wish they would stop this three-days on, one-day off load-shedding arrangement,” she said.

Residents Of Taraba Divided Over Stable Power Supply
Apart from residents of Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State, who have been enjoying stable power supply, the reverse is the case for those residing in nearby communities and local councils.Even though Jalingo residents agree that the incumbent government at both the state and national levels have contributed greatly to the improvement recorded in the power sector, payment of monthly bills for power consumed has become a source of headache to the people

It is also important to point out that the inability of the government to get more communities connected to the national grid, is what has made the situation hopeless for residents of such areas.Uche Emeka, a barbing saloon operator said, “We are impressed by the stable power supply we are presently experiencing in Jalingo, and the improvement was made possible by this present government.”He wants the gesture extended to all parts of the state “because it will make a lot of our young men and women to get themselves engaged in one trade or the other.”

Satisfied with power supply, Salome Umar, an artisan is canvassing a reduction in monthly electricity bills in order to make it affordable to all.“For us to fully appreciate what government is doing for us, I believe it is necessary for them to make enough transformers available because some people in Jalingo still operate without electricity for days.”Audu Nasir, who charges mobile handsets for a fee said the poor power situation in his community is what forces people to trek long distances to patronise him.

A staff of Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) regretted that even though the firm was working round the clock to ensure steady power supply, the state government has not deemed it important to collaborate with it by providing transformers.
Citing some state governors and elected political office holders that do this to their people, he stressed that doing would boost efforts at connecting more communities to the national grid. He called on the state government to partner the outfit in efforts aimed at ensuring stable power supply in the state.

Ekiti Consumers Bemoan Dwindling Supply
WHILE some residents of Ekiti State are endlessly lamenting poor power supply, others in the 16 local councils, are permanently in darkness occasioned by alleged lack of capacity by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). A resident of Omuo in Ekiti East Local Council, Mr. Adedayo Famisa, said the area has been experiencing “permanent blackout” for over two years now, and all efforts to get the outfit to perform have since failed. “We are wondering what wrong our part of the country has done to deserve this treatment that we are getting.”

Mr. Olorunfemi Oguntuase, from Ode Ekiti, in Gbonyin Local Council, said his community, which is the Headquarters of the council has been without electricity since 2015, leading to breakdown of commercial activities, especially of the non-formal sector. He lamented that the situation has caused rural urban migration, as people “who are born in this place now prefer to set up businesses in Ado Ekiti. How can we develop with the current situation? We, therefore, call on the state government to come to our rescue.”

Chairman, Ado Residents Electricity Consumer Association, Dr. Ibukun Ogundipe, in confirming the situation said that BEDC has failed to live up to expectation despite the outrageous bills it regularly hands out to residents.“We have been having a running battle with BEDC for about one year now because it has continued to bill consumers outrageously even when power supply is epileptic. Following the regulatory body’s declaration that those whose premises are not metered can’t use more than 186 kilowatts per month, we have resolved in Ado Ekiti that our people should not pay more than N3, 000 per month.

“If they come to disconnect our premises, we will resist them, and not allow them to climb our poles, or take our cables, which we bought with our money. We have almost completed the processes of taking them to court in Ekiti, and we want to stop them from issuing outrageous bills, get refunds for the overbilling perpetrated since 2016.“As I am talking to you now, we don’t have light. They will restore supply at an awkward time like 10pm, and by 3 am the supply would again be gone. We have been asking for pre-paid meters so that people can pay for what we consume, but all to no avail,” he said.

If these residents were expecting a sudden change in their circumstance, the BEDC’s Public Relations Officer for Ekiti and Ondo states, Mr. Kayode Ilori Brown, doused such enthusiasm saying there can’t be regular electricity supply in all the parts of Ekiti for now.

“You must start with the country’s power generation profile, which is not more than 5, 000 megawatts. Given the rule of the thumb, 1, 000 megawatt to 1 million people, we are grossly 180 million people, so we should be talking of 180, 000 megawatts of which we are generating less than 5,000 megawatts. So, it is self-explanatory why there is not enough power to distribute now. Ode in Gbonyin Local Council was connected when somebody was paying for them, but they have stopped paying. Electricity is a commercial venture, and those consuming it must pay it for. On the Ekiti East case, we are working on it. The contractors have been mobilised to site. Regarding the metering, BEDC is not the only licensed company in Nigeria, we are about 11.”

On the issue of metering, which has remained a sore point for most consumers, Brown said the Federal Government has since intervened, and by the first quarter of next year, the meter provider would have commenced work.”

Edo, BEDC On War Path Over Prevailing Darkness
THE frustration that the people of Edo State are going through, as far as electricity supply is concerned, was recently put on display when the state governor, Godwin Obaseki summarised his feelings last month. This culminated in his walking out the Managing Director (MD) of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Mrs. Funke Osibodu and her team from his office.

Obaseki, who was surprised to see the BEDC Team sandwiched between members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, led by Daniel Asuquo, which was on a courtesy visit to him, expressed disgust that the firm has blatantly failed to meet its obligations to electricity consumers in the state, a development, which he said has kept the state in darkness.

After asking Osibudu and her team out, Obaseki told the delegation: “BEDC has been an obstacle all the way. They will not provide electricity and will not allow you to get alternative sources of power. The state will not allow it…As Governor of Edo State, we have lost confidence in BEDC; we don’t want them here; we are in darkness. Let us remain in darkness until we find people who are capable of delivering electricity. This is our position.” He expressed sadness that despite the fact that the state generates about 600 to 700 megawatts of electricity, its people consistently wallow in darkness, wondering how to explain the irony to the people.

Deltans Yearning For Improved Power Supply
DELTA State, one of the states, which BEDC is the service provider, is not faring better than others in that league judging from testimonies from electricity consumers, even though they admit that power supply situation has relatively improved in certain parts of the state.

For instance, in Asaba and its environs, the power sharing arrangement that ensures that certain areas get electricity from 6am to 9am, and 12noon to 6pm has been religiously adhered to for sometime now. Ironically, Kwale, Headquarters of Ndokwa West and environs with massive gas deposits, and where gas is daily flared by six oil firms; Sapele, which hosts the Ogorode Power Station and some other towns have remained in darkness, while businesses and residents there continue to suffer untold hardships.

At Efurun, in Uvwie Local Council, residents pointed out that the situation in places like the GRA by the High Court, Shoprite and its environs is encouraging, as they rarely make use of their power generating sets. Same can be said of Warri, where there is slight improvement.

Akwa Ibom Power Consumers Starving Amid Plenty
AKWA Ibom State is one of the states that should be self-sufficient in electricity because of its investment in the power sector. But while some residents in parts of the state enjoy up to 14 to 20-hour supply, those in other parts are wondering why they get very little supply. Now, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), which is accusing the people of unwillingness to pay for power consumed, is also alleged to have limited capacity to deliver service as it has capacity to evacuate only 22mw from a 144mw transformer.

Since assuming office, the Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel-led administration has invested a lot into power generation in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the realisation of its cardinal agenda of industrilisation, which cannot be attained without constant power supply.

Sometime in May this year, the governor commissioned a 1 x 60MVA, 132kv/33kv transformer to increase power supply in Uyo from 96 megawatts to 144mw. The project was done in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).Now, most residents of Uyo Metropolis, especially those living in and around Nwaniba and Oron roads, Ewet Housing Estate, Anua, Osong-Ama Estate, among others are for experience improved power supply since the commissioning of 33/11kv, 2 x 15mva substation at Four-lane. The story is the same along the Afaha Ube, Itam area because of the 2 x 60mva, 132/33kv transmission substation at Afaha Ube.

Clearly, the number of consumers that are enjoying improved power supply is nothing close to those that are yearning for a better deal from the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC). On why the state cannot boast of 24-hour power supply, the Managing Director of Ibom Power Company Limited, and Special Assistant on Power to the Governor, Mr. Meyen Etukudo said, “At Ibom Power Company, we are constantly generating electricity. As we speak now, we are producing about 75mw. If this power is distributed in Akwa Ibom State, we should have steady power supply. The TCN wheels the power from Ikot Abasi to Eket, which is a load centre; the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) hardly picks even 1mw to be distributed in Eket.

Their excuse is that bills are not paid. The power is equally transmitted from Eket to Uyo, which has 3x 60mva transformers, which is about 144mw. The entire Akwa Ibom State cannot consume 144mw. Even the day Governor Emmanuel commissioned the 60mva transformer at Afaha Ube in Uyo, the PHEDC only picked 22mw from a transformer that has 144mw capacity. If you ask them, they will say people are not paying their electricity bills. If PHEDC picks all the power produced by Ibom Power Company, there will be steady and quality power supply in the state. The state government has invested in power infrastructure to ensure 24-hour steady and quality power supply in Akwa Ibom State, but the state does not have the authority to compel PHEDC to distribute the power,” he said.

Rivers State Residents Paying For darkness
RIVERS State, like the three others under the PHEDC is facing a severe electricity crisis due to increasingly widening gap between demand and available power supply. Despite investing billions to build four gas turbines power stations with installed capacity of 541 megawatts, which was eventually sold to private investors, the state is plagued by acute electricity shortage, resulting in power outages ranging from 12 to 22 hours per day in parts of Port Harcourt, while in the rural areas the outage lasts for days.

A source in PHEDC told The Guardian that the electricity transmission and distribution networks were partly to blame for the perennial darkness experienced in most parts of the state in recent times.“Between Tuesday and Thursday, the average power supplied to Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers States hovers between 313 to 319 megawatts from the national grid. Whereas, our installed capacity in these four states is 700 megawatts. This is the reason why there has been a lot of load shedding.

“We are not into generation or transmission, so what is given to us is what we will distribute. It is true that Rivers State, for instance, has gas turbines, but ironically, the power generated is fed into the national grid, they don’t specifically generate power for Rivers State. So, we supply what is given to us. We will like to do more than we are doing but we are constrained,” he said.Ms. Bernice Kabari, who owns a water production firm at Rukpokwu, in Obio-Akpor said the worsening power situation has inflicted hardships on individuals and businesses operating in the state.She explained that due to the intense heat being experienced in the state the demand for water has been on the increase. And in a bid to meet clients’ demands, her company now spends huge sums monthly to power the water factory.

“Since November the demand for water has been on the increase, at the same time, power supply from PHEDC has drastically reduced from an average of nine hours at night to five hours. What this implies is that we have to depend on our diesel power generating plants for power most of the time. The amount we spend on power generation is staggering. Meanwhile, we have not increased the cost of bottled water. It is quite challenging doing business here,” she said.

Nothing typifies the electricity crisis in Rivers State like the thousands of generators, which are now a regular fixture on street corners in Port Harcourt and its suburbs, as well as, other towns. Betty Nwaneze, who runs a hair dressing and barbing salon at D-line, Port Harcourt, told The Guardian that she long realised that the only way she could remain in business was not to depend on electricity supply from PHEDC. She narrated that the power firm barely supplies electricity hence she has to rely on her own power plants.

An economist and public affair analyst, Diepreye Brownson, noted that it was amazing that the billions of naira expended by the state government on the power sector over the past years has not yielded much.He explained that due to the state’s fast-growing economy and population in the 1980s, past governments, beginning with Melford Okilo started investing heavily in the power sector with the intent of boosting its industrialisation agenda, and improving the living standards of those who reside and do business in it.

“This state, between 1999 and 2015 built four gas-powered stations, with an installed capacity of 541 megawatts. That is, Omoku (150 megawatts), Trans Amadi (136 megawatts), Afam (180 megawatts) and Eleme (75 megawatts). We are aware that the state’s 70 equity share in First Independent Power Company was sold to private investors. Isn’t a paradox that a state with this capacity barely gets 120 megawatts from the national grid? The past administration, which was the architect of privatisation of the state’s power stations, promised this would facilitate 24-hour electricity supply daily, but the reverse is the case. We are all groping in darkness here,” he said.

Saddened by the poor electricity supply in Rivers and other Niger Delta states, which has made life very difficult for residents, Kennedy Okoro, has called for a complete overhaul of the power sector. Okoro blamed the deplorable electricity situation on the impulsive energy policy of the Federal Government.According to him, the severe power crisis in Rivers and elsewhere is ultimately due to massive institutional and governance failure.

Similarly, Lydia Ordu lamented that in spite of the extreme load shedding, most of the 14 million people resident in the four states covered by PHEDC are issued with estimated bill. She said in the past five months, her bill has been in the region of N10, 000 to N11, 000 per month, adding that she and others have merely been paying for darkness instead of power.

“I have been paying the PHEDC for darkness. It is disheartening that customers are made to pay for service not rendered. This is inhuman to say the least. I barely have power supply, yet, I am compelled to cough out at least N10, 000 naira monthly for the welfare of the owners of PHEDC. This smacks of criminality,” she added.

South East: Economic Hub Hamstrung By Failing Power Supply
AT an economic summit in Enugu State, last Tuesday, stakeholders lamented that one of the greatest challenge hindering the economic expansion of the South East geo-political zone was power supply. They concluded that an improvement in power supply would see the zone, which mainly thrives on commerce deepen the provision of goods and services in the short term and, in the long run become an economic giant that would be the envy of the continent and beyond.

Despite the cheery submissions, the South East, like other geo-political zones is in dire need of steady power supply. Unfortunately, this is denied the area as a result of ailing electrical installations, as well as, the alleged poor attitude of the EEDC, which is the sole distributor of electricity in the zone.In Enugu, for instance, many residents go without electricity for days, while in other places they are subjected to a day-off power and a day-on kind of arrangement.

The situation has increased patronage for generating sets dealers, especially among the business class whose functions are power dependent. Efforts to get reactions on the poor supply situation in the zone from Emeka Eze, the company’s communications manager were unsuccessful as he neither picked calls to his mobile line nor responded to text messages.

But he told a stakeholders meeting in Enugu recently that logistics challenges faced by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), faulty meters and illegal activities of some electricity customers, such as bypassing of pre-paid meters and illegal connection were responsible for poor electricity supply in the zone.

Chukwudi Ojielo, one of EEDC’s clients at the stakeholders meeting described the firm’s service as “extremely poor; I think there should be a complete overhaul of what they are doing in EEDC if they are not capable of managing their affairs. They have always given this excuse that they are just a power distribution company; that it is only what they get that they distribute. How come that it is only happening here? How come it’s not happening in other places? If they don’t have money to buy enough to distribute, why don’t they say so and get us some competent people to manage the outfit?”

Imo Consumers Send ‘SOS,’ Resort to solar Power
IN their bid to overcome intractable power problems plaguing Imo State, electricity consumers in the state, especially the wealthy ones are now exploring the solar power option.For over one year, many areas in the state have remained without power supply. One of such areas is around Imo State University Junction up to Orji, and Okigwe Road. Residents of the area said they have been without public power supply since April 2017. The story is the same around Aladinma, Ikenegbu and World Bank areas.

Matters are equally worse for those that barely have power supply as they are charged large sums of money through the obnoxious estimated billing as they are without pre-paid meters. Consequent upon this sad scenario, the affected consumers have sent “Save Our Souls” (SOS), messages to the state government and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).

A resident, who simply identified himself as Orji said the worsening power situation deserves serious attention in order for a lasting solution to be found. “Power supply problem has become endemic and difficult to solve. This is happening at a time where other countries are steadily overcoming the challenge. “Those of us that reside around the upland area of Orji, have been without power for over one year, and we are appealing to the EEDC to come to our aid.”

Another consumer, who resides at Egbu, Owerri North Local Council, John Nwaigwe, insists that Nigerians are yet to feel the dividend of democracy in the area of power supply, despite all the assurances from the Federal Government. He said: “I wonder when we are going to get out of this precarious condition. My family has resorted to solar energy, and we installed one, which powers most of our light gadgets. It cost us over N 200,000 to get that installed just to reduce our sufferings.”

Power supply to Government House, Owerri, was cut off sometime ago, as the state government, allegedly owes the EEDC millions of naira. The same applies to the State Secretariat, along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.  At the EEDC Head Office at Royce Road, Owerri, an official told The Guardian that the company only feeds its consumers what it receives, or what is allocated to it.“We only distribute, what we are given in terms of megawatts. Our consumers should bear with us,” he said without mentioning his name.

In Ebonyi, Regular Power Supply Still A Luxury
ABAKALIKI, the Ebonyi State capital is no different from other state capitals in the South East in terms of poor power supply. Afikpo Town, which is the second largest and developed city in the state, was without power for over a decade. Only the state government’s intervention not long ago led to restoration of electricity.

As a result of the epileptic power supply being witnessed in the state, consumers and the distribution company are at daggers-drawn over the outrageous charges imposed on them by the distribution company in the name of monthly electricity bills. Mr. Peter Obaji, a resident of the state said, “in my area, we only have electricity supply once or twice a week. That notwithstanding, the electricity distribution company still has the courage to harass us with outrageous bills because most consumers do not have pre-paid meters hence the distribution company’s reliance on estimated billing.”

Another resident, Chief Thomas Okeh, who wondered in which parts of the country that “the over 7, 000mw allegedly generated by the government were being distributed,” took a swipe at Fashola over the claim saying, “why are we still having highly epileptic power supply if the minister’s claim of improved generation was true?”

Epileptic Supply, Low Voltage Hurting Anambra Residents, Businesses,
BUSINESS owners and residents of Anambra State are hurting severely as a result of epileptic power supply. But what make the matter worse is because some business owners and residents claim that the power supplied to their areas is so low in voltage that they barely can use same for anything tangible. “The electricity supply to my area, and indeed to some parts of the state is nothing to write home about,” was how Sir Anthony Mbah, a resident of the state capital put it.

“How can the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and his employer continue to deceive Ndi Anambra, saying the Federal Government is now generating over 7, 000megawatts of electricity. So, where is the power now?A printer in Onitsha strongly disagrees with the alleged improvement in power supply, arguing that till now; he and his counterparts still rely on diesel-powered power generating plants to run their outfits. So, “this claim is unbelievable, we hardly see light for 10 hours in our area at Nkpor and its environs. Well, the minister could be talking about Logos and the South West, but not anywhere in the South East has light improved.”

In the same vein, Mrs. Viola Uchenna, who owns a confectionary outfit at Enugu Ukwu lamented that the power supply in the area has been epileptic, and the voltage is always low.She said: “We get power supply in a particular pattern. After power comes for about two hours, we usually suffer outage for about six hours. We don’t have enough power supply in this state.”

Plateau Not Insulated From Power Challenge 
APART from the generally poor electricity situation in Jos, the capital of Plateau State and in other parts of the state, some communities there are suffering conditions that would require extra attention before they can smile once again.  For instance, residents of Gondola Fudawa Community, Gwong District, those of Gwafwan community both of Jos North Local Council, have something in common- they yearn for regular electricity supply, which is increasingly eluding them.

While the former, which is home to over 100, 000 people is saddled with a transformer that packed up four months ago, the latter cannot use electricity for anything meaningful whenever there is supply because the voltage is abysmally low to be useful.In Ganawuri Kingdom of Riyom Local Council, public power supply has been off for years. This situation was tabled three weeks ago when Governor Simon Lalong presented the staff of office to Atta Atten of Ganawuri. Residents of the area, through their traditional ruler appealed to the governor to intervene in their plight.

If the cases involving the aforementioned are “simple” that of Kwang village is a bit complicated as the community has never been connected to the national grid. There are some other communities that are suffering Kwang’s fate in the state.

When contacted, the acting Head, Corporate Communications, Jos Electricity Distribution (JED) Plc, Aliyu Saratu Dauda, admitted that the company was facing some challenges, which include non-response of customers to electricity bills payments, stealing of electrical equipment, by-passing of metres and vandalisation of electrical installations.

She said: “We don’t generate energy, but we pay for the energy we distribute. However, some consumers are in the habit of using energy worth thousands of naira but without paying for it, and because of insecurity in the state, some of our staff members are beaten up from time to time when culprits are caught or when we complain. But amid all these, challenges, we still strive to meet customers’ demands.”