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Mixed reactions over epileptic power supply during lockdown


• Technical Hitches Ground SO Website, TCN Restores Platform
• ‘We Cancelled Wedding, Restrict Guests To Beat Lockdown’

Some electricity consumers looking forward to improved power supply, to cushion the effect of the nationwide stay-at- home-order, as part of measures to limit the spread of the outbreak of COVID-19, have expressed dissatisfaction over the worsening state of power supply across the country. Power supply, however, remains uninterrupted in some locations.

While shortage of gas for power generation as well as technical bottlenecks had reportedly affected power supply to homes, some distribution companies have noted that supply is being hindered to some areas due to maintenance, either on distribution infrastructure or transmission lines.

Kaduna Electric had yesterday written to some of its consumers, disclosing that maintenance work on TCN’s T1 and T2 Transformers would affect supply to Abakpa, NAF Base, Unguwan Dosa, Mando, Legislative, Kawo, Rigachikun and Jaji area of the state.

The company’s Head, Corporate Communications, AbdulAzeez Abdullahi said: “The outage is to enable maintenance work on TCN’s T1 & T2 transformers at Mando Transmission Station, Kaduna. Supply shall be restored to the affected communities as soon as TCN restores supply.”

The Guardian learnt gathered that a System Operations website, which allows the key players in the industry access progress and challenges, had been taken down since March 16.

However, TCN’s spokesperson, Ndidi Mba told The Guardian that the system was restored yesterday. In the Ibafo area of Ogun State, a consumer, Olaitan Kemi, decried the state of power supply, stressing that the epileptic supply worsened the lockdown of economic activities.

“They told us to stay indoors, at least adequate electricity is one thing they should look into. Though no economic activity is going on, we are spending a lot to run on power generating sets. They weather is not friendly. I don’t get to watch the news or use my phone the way I should. I feel the government should make electricity constant even if it’s going to be for speculated hours per day,” Kemi said.

In Owerri, Imo State, a consumer who identified herself as Mercy Simon stated that the situation has become unbearable.“I’m feeling sick already, practically all I do is sleep and sleep just to kill time. I’m far from home, I need to be in contact with my family always but you can’t because there’s no light to even power my phone. I can’t also go out to charge the battery,” she stated.

Another consumer, who resides in the Kubwa area of the Federal Capital Territory, Ojonoka Maha, stated that most of the items stocked in her refrigerator have gone bad due to the epileptic power supply.

Maha said: It’s terrible to stay at home without power supply. We have to stock up the house with food items because of the lockdown, but all the food items we got are almost going bad. The same thing with the food we already prepared.

“The heat has been very bad. We have not been sleeping well at night. How long do we keep buying fuel when the filling stations are not even selling? There is no light to keep us updated on what is happening.”

Anone Christabel, who resides in Idah, Kogi state also expressed cynical opinion on the state of the supply, adding that the community has been out of supply for days.

She said: “Almost 60 years after independence, Nigeria the acclaimed ‘giant of Africa’ cannot boast of a constant power supply.

“The power sector is one of the most important sectors in every developing and developed world. It supports development, industrialisation, growth and efficiency. The power sector of Nigeria is, however, a toothless bulldog. Millions of Naira is being transferred into that sector, yet constant power supply has remain a prophecy that the citizens are anxiously waiting for to come to pass.

“What then can we say is the problem of a country with vibrant, youthful population, a country with enough dams and rivers to support power generation? The supply of light is a basic responsibility of the government, the privatisation of the sector have to an extent silenced the voice of the government in the provision of power,” she said.

In Asaba, Comfort Dafe noted that she had to postpone her wedding scheduled for April 11 due to the prevailing situation.

“I had to postpone my wedding. I felt if the lockdown would help prevent the spread, then it’s a good approach to shift the wedding. Dafe, however, decried the high cost of food items in the market, stating that, “livestock farmers and other essential farmers should be excluded from the curfew in order to help the price of foodstuffs in the market.”

In Lokoja, Yemi Balogun expressed similar disappointment, noting that the situation remained appalling, particularly coupled with the restriction of movement and hike in prices of foodstuff.

In Abuja, Tajani Mohammed Lawal, who had planned his wedding for this month noted that shifting the date had become inevitable in the face of the current situation.

But Ajiboye Gideon, whose wedding is holding in Lagos, disclosed that he would proceed with his wedding but restrict guests to less than 20 people.He added that he would also conduct the wedding indoors to avoid any embarrassment by law enforcement agents.

“No power supply at all to even stock up with the little money we have. My feeling is that of disappointment right now. If DisCos can go from house to house to collect bills, then they should go house to house to fix electricity problems,” Balogun stated. In Benin, an end-user, who identified himself as Kingsley Udus, disclosed that the supply has been worst in his area.

“No power supply. I have been running on generator. Even if there’s power, immediately rain is starting, they will take it and you are not sure when they will restore it,” Udus disclosed.

The story is not different in Akwa-Ibom, where Augusta Aku disclosed that she spends a minimum of N1500 to power her generating set for few hours daily, adding that she has not seen light in her community since October last year.

“I spend money on fuel. My generator can’t even power my refrigerator so I can’t even stock food. I get back from work 5pm and put on the generator till around 7pm. I cannot keep anything in the fridge.

“This makes work very difficult for me. I pay drycleaners so I can keep my uniforms clean and ironed. I have not seen electricity supply for over six months.”

The story is, however, different for Emmanuel Olufemi, who resides around Ganmo and Amoyo communities in Ilorin, Kwara state, as he disclosed that power supply goes interrupted for hours.

Olufemi noted that his community enjoys supply for about 18 to 22 hours daily.At the Maitama area of FCT, Ageji Kadari disclosed that the supply has been very stable in the past days.

At the Surulere area of Lagos, Omolade Adeoye disclosed that the supply has been relatively stable, while another customer, Pauline Okpanachi, who resides in the Victoria Garden City, Lagos expressed satisfaction with power supply.

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