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The borden of electricity distribution

28 August 2014, 11:48 Obaro

When we were growing up as kids in the late 70s and early 80s, we were made to understand whenever there’s power outage that there has been a major technical fault occasioned either by an environmental interference or weather induced. I still remembered vividly the fact that whenever there is a prolonged power outage, announcement are being made on radio and television and apologies are being rendered to the public with assurances to rectify the hitches which is usually done within the shortest possible time (usually within hours).

Time was in Nigeria when it was almost impossible for power outages, but the reverse is now sadly and unfortunately the case. The exclamation “Up Nepa!” has now characterized expressions of joy and relief whenever electricity is brought, as Nigerians rushes to start changing their phones and other electrical appliances in anticipation that power may go off any moment. “Crazy bills” has now become the order of the day as the public are made to pay as high as N10,000 to N15,000 per month for electricity bills for a two or three bedroom flat apartments. Nigerians are often harassed into paying bills for electricity they never used. Threats of disconnection have often coarse many into paying for what they didn't use just to save face and maintain their pride in their communities. “Inherited bills” now seems to have come to stay, as new tenants of a particular apartment as being forced and harassed into clearing any outstanding bills been owed by the former tenant. Meter charges are being included with the monthly bills even though the so called electricity meters aren't working or function.

Also read: Government moves against electricity theft

The introduction of prepaid meters few years ago came as a relief to many, but hopes were dashed when many were made to understand that those meters were actually meant for VIP Customers. Some Nigerians had to pay through their nose just to get a prepaid meter but after paying as high as between N50,000 to N100,000 some have waited endlessly with no hope of getting it, whereas their money wasn’t returned. The electricity transmission companies often shy away from taken responsibilities or measures at restoring or repairing power installations whenever occasion arises, either due to a natural disaster or activities of vandals. The affected communities are usually made to bear the brunt and such responsibilities, the public are made to contribute certain amounts of money to fix even the minutest faults. Even though they still have to settle their bills at the end of every month.

The fact that some parts of the society enjoys almost an uninterrupted power supply daily while majorities of others hardly enjoys a four – hours electricity supply per day clearly shows that a lot  needs to be done as  regards to power distribution in Nigeria. With particular reference to the Kwara State Capital, Ilorin where I reside, communities like Airport, Asa-dam/dangote, Agbo-oba, Ganmo, Ita-alamu, Olunlade and some parts of Osere and GRA usually have almost 24 hours uninterrupted power supply at the expense of all other communities which constitute almost 70% of the state capital, even though the billings doesn’t reflect this disparity and lopsidedness. It doesn’t really matter the quantity of electricity Nigeria generates, what matters is how much of electricity a house hold enjoys. Even if the country generates One Million megawatts of electricity, it wouldn’t make any sense or meaning to the average Nigerian if at the end of the day he/she doesn’t get to enjoy it. Hence, the need for the power transmission companies to look urgently into their modus operandi to resolve and rectify the anomalies and lopsidedness in electricity distribution.

Also read: Electricity supply worsens

Electricity consumers should have value for their money. Some people shouldn’t be enjoying electricity for almost 24 hours daily while the majority of others would only be paying bills for electricity they didn’t use.  Nigerians are calling on the relevant agencies like the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and indeed all other major stakeholders in Power Transmission and distribution to come to the aid of the common man with the aim of addressing the issues raised above, to ensure that the right things are done to move this country forward               


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