Nigerians, businesses groan under power outages
By JOHNMARK UKOKO
Business owners in Lagos State and its environs have decried the current power outage that happened in the past two weeks. Investigations by The Trumpet showed that businesses and individuals were already counting their losses as a result of the current power outage.
The owner of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), Okechuku Obinna, said his area, Ketu, Lagos has not experienced public power supply in the last two weeks, adding that the situation has also adversely affected water supply to the area. Obinna said people now depend on water vendors, who go about with their trucks or wheel barrows hawking water to households.
“The past few days have been so difficult for me and people of my area. We have not been supplied power for close to two weeks, which has also affected water supply to the entire area. “We now rely on water vendors who hawk water with their trucks or wheel barrows.
Our problem is compounded with the serious heat. I can’t sleep without my air-conditioner, but without public power supply, it is difficult,” he lamented. Confirming the power situation, a statement on the website of Eko Distribution Company (EKDC) reads: “There was a significant drop in power allocation to its network from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
This has led to massive load shedding. Kindly bear with us, as we are currently working with our TCN partners for a quick resolution. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.” Also, the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company (IKDC) sent a short message to some of its customers, saying: “We apologise for the current power outage being experienced in Lagos State.
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We are working round the clock to rectify the issue. Please do bear with us.” However, a promoter of a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Peter Idovah, told The Trumpet that the situation in the Ikeja axis has been ongoing for close to two weeks. Idovah lamented that his raw materials, which he uses to produce chicken feeds were going bad as his generator could not work for long hours without breaking down, adding that his firm was no longer able to meet his customers’ demands.
He argued that the electricity bills the IEDC will send to him for June 2022 will not reflect that there was no light for several days and that each month, the company fails to supply electricity for days and weeks, but does not fail to give one excuse or the other, adding that such excuses no longer meant anything to him. “Power supply to our area since about two weeks now has been virtually non- existent.
The electricity company has said that the supply from TCN is low and as such, we should exercise patience while they fix the fault. “Their excuses have become too many that they no longer make any meaning to me and to most Nigerians. Why must there be fault every month that will take days and weeks to rectify? Is that what is obtainable elsewhere? he asked.
Idovah said the excuses for the constant faults had become too many, adding that the various electricity companies were only interested in the money they get from Nigerians, while they leave them in perpetual darkness. “It is sad that Nigerians have to constantly rely on generators for energy supply. We all know how much diesel is sold today. Most businesses have to reduce their operational hours to optimise production costs.
I appeal to the media to help us plead with the government and the electricity companies to fix the country’s power supply system,” he stated. Another businessman, Balogun Tunde, in a telephone interview with The Trumpet, lamented that his small office that runs services for some clients was being billed between N70,000 and N80,000 monthly, while power supply remains about 10 to 12 hours before the total blackout.
Tunde, who declined to reveal the name of his firm for fear of backlash from the EKDC, added that his office at Ajah axis of Lagos had been in perpetual darkness and that despite the constant power outages, the bills keep rising. “Ajah and its environs, is always in darkness now and then over one excuse or the other. But the bills keep increasing every month.
We are helpless as the price of diesel has increased beyond the reach of the average company,” he lamented. Another respondent and employee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his office has been permanently run on generator since the last power outages. He said although the company used to provide power once in a while, it only lasts for a few minutes or an hour at the most, adding: “Power supply has been very poor in Victoria Island and Ikoyi despite the high tariff we are being billed.
The last two weeks have been particularly difficult for businesses in terms of power supply in Lagos based on feelers from our members across the state.”
Also, a Chartered Accountant, who runs an auditing firm in Surulere told The Trumpet that his office was currently been run on generators, saying: “I can tell you categorically that power supply has dropped in the recent days. We now run between 10:00a.m. and 3:00p.m. instead of 9:00a.m to 4:30p.m and this has been bad for most businesses in the country.
“Even in our homes, we don’t have light. To sleep is difficult, because the heat is much, although we should have been in the rainy season,” he added. A barber at Adamo area of Ikorodu in Lagos State, Tony Odeh, said the past few weeks had been tough for his barbing saloon, adding that the union of barbers had to increase the amount they charge their customers.
“Since we are running our saloons with our small generators, we now charge N500 to cut the hair of adults instead of the initial N400, while we take N300 from children instead of N200, once we use generator to cut hair. “We are all suffering the power outages that have become so worrisome since the beginning of the year.
Our union leaders added N100 to the cost we formerly charge, if there is no light and we are bound by it. “It was a decision taken at our general meeting, so we are all in agreement with it. Any barber that flouts the resolution is punished if caught,” he stated.