Electricity generating sets have remained a major source of power supply for many Nigerians. Unfortunately, this alternative source of power which the people have continued to rely on has brought more harm to many homes rather than providing succour. OSBY ISIBOR reports.
Nigerians seem to have given up on the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the body saddled with the responsibility of providing electricity in Nigeria. And instead of putting their hope on government’s failed promises of constant power supply, they have devised means of sustaining their homes and businesses.
The result of which is over-reliance on electricity generating sets. Most residents in Nigeria use electricity generators of varying sizes for both domestic and industrial purposes.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY investigations showed that electricitbills of many homes, local industries, hospitals and offices have gone up astronomically, apparently because of what they spend on generating power.
Over the years, the federal government has made concerted efforts in providing stable power supply to its citizens. But these efforts of government to provide stable electricity have continued to totter.
Some people believe that there are government officials who have vowed to sabotage stable electricity supply in Nigeria so that business of generators will continue to boom thereby having money in their pockets.
This has impacted negatively on the economy as most businesses have moved out to other African countries with stable power supply. The general effect of this is economic decline. A situation, analysts say, if not checked, will consume many more businesses.
In 2009, it was estimated that 60 million Nigerians own power generating sets for their electricity, while the same number of people spend a staggering N1.56 trillion ($13.35 million) to fuel them annually.
According to independent investigations; in the last three years, average residential expenditure in fuelling power generators climbed to over N1.56 trillion, (about $13.35 million) per annum. Similar level of expenditure on private power generation has characterised the affairs of industrial and commercial power consumers.
Nigeria is experiencing the worst electricity crisis among its contemporaries, which underscores the epileptic generation, distribution and supply in the country.
No doubt, electricity crisis remains the key infrastructure development bottleneck in Nigeria today, where all types of firms in Nigeria experience power outages and 85 per cent of them own generators as alternative source of power generation. The present condition of manufacturers in the country does not leave much to be desired.
Mr. Omoruyi Samson said his business experienced a terrible setback last year due to power outages.
“We lost millions last year. We didn’t have power for more than two weeks and our generators packed up due to constant usage. We just bought another generator that cost us N10million”.
His views are not different from that of Bimbola Adeniyi, who also is into frozen foods business. Bimbola complained bitterly on how the poor power supply is affecting her business.
“Things are getting difficult by the day. It is so bad that our kind of business cannot survive without power. Many of us have lost millions. We cannot continue depending on generator”, she said.
Mr. Ben Monye said that he has two generators. He stated that both run on petrol and they both have their different functions.
“The situation of electricity in my area is just terrible. I have two generators. Both use petrol. I switch on the small one mostly in the afternoon. At night I switch on the big one, this has caused a huge financial burden on me”, he said.
While these generators have served the purpose of providing alternative source of power, they have also caused harm and brought grief and sorrow to many homes in Nigeria.
On April 21, 2012 an entire family of four was wiped out by fire which gutted their home on that fateful Saturday night at Ejigbo, Lagos State.
According to reports, the fire which started at about 11:00 p.m. at 9, Ogundade Street at Ejigbo, engulfed the entire building and destroyed items worth millions of naira belonging to other tenants. It was gathered that the generating set inside the victims’ apartment caused the fire.
In another development, six persons were also confirmed dead and six others in critical condition after inhaling fumes from a power generator in Amata Urobo in Ohaozara Local Government of Ebonyi State.
These are few examples of cases of deaths caused by the use of generators to supply power to homes and offices. The environmental hazards these generating sets also pose are unimaginable. There are several cases of environmental pollution in most of our towns and cities.
Many have advocated the need for the Federal Government to stop the importation of generating sets into the country. This, analysts believe will not only address the epileptic power situation in the country, but will also reduce the incidents of environmental pollution.
President of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies (AES), Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu, who spoke at a press conference recently, said Nigeria should emulate Ghana that barred foreigners from selling generators in order to avoid sabotage of its stable power supply.
Ajagu advised the Federal Government to hands off the issue of power, saying, “government does not have any business with power; all they need to do is create the necessary enabling environment”.
This may have informed the move by the National Assembly to probe generator importers over power problem.
The lawmaker representing Ifo Federal Constituency of Ogun State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Adekunle Adeyemi said that the National Assembly may soon probe the importation of generating sets to Nigeria in order to unravel the forces behind epileptic power supply in the country. Adeyemi dropped the hint recently while speaking with newsmen in Ifo.
The present administration has taken a bold step in addressing the power situation through its transformation agenda. But how realiseable are those power initiatives, only time will tell.