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Generators at work

THE ‘NOISEMAKERS’ HAVE BEEN SILENCED!

“The noisemakers have been silenced!” This was what I thought after I had stayed for 3 days without any power outage or the sound of generators.

Recommended by my driver, I had checked into Greenfield hotel, in Assyllum-down area of Accra; a 3 star hotel located in a descent and serene location at the city center of the capital city of Ghana.

It was only 72 hours after that I heard the sound of a generator for the very first time. I was later to learn that the prepaid card for the meter was exhausted, which was the reason for the brief power outage that necessitated the use of the generator for about 30 mins.

The uninterrupted power supply during my stay in Accra and the amazing testimonial about the monumental growth in the power situation in Ghana as compared to that of my country, Nigeria, compelled me to write this piece.

While taking a walk in the evening, in the serene and well-lighted streets, I had observed few sound-proof generators especially in companies but the amazing thing was that those generators looked unused. Until three days after when there was a brief power outage in  my hotel, I never knew the generators works.

I had asked my driver about the power situation of the state and entusiatially he said that electricity was constant and that by evening all street lights would be turned on giving illumination to the streets and environment to foster security. One of my friends also added that the consumers have enjoyed value for their money, especially with the use of the prepaid meter.

Coming out from a poor power generation and inadequate supply that plagued the country in the past years, Ghana can now boast of providing regular and affordable electricity to her growing consumers.

This was made possible by diversifying the electricity generation mix through the development of other hydro power and renewable energy sources for which the country has huge potential, and of course, expanding the prepaid metering system to include all public and private institutions, which was before now had contributed to the challenge of funding the sector.

Trust me, you can’t imagine how serene and peaceful it is to live in an environment where you never have to worry about noise and air pollution. This was what I enjoyed in Accra. One of the source of our stress as Lagosians is both noise and air pollution. Of course, transportation and traffic is another palaver we face daily. And all these has a way of depleting our health and affecting our relationships.

No ElectricityI can’t remember when last we have heard uninterrupted power for three days in Lagos. By the way, Whenever we experience an uninterrupted power supply, say, for 12 hours, we usually get agitated and worried that something was wrong or like we normally make jokes, we would say,  ‘maybe the officer on duty has slept off and forgot to turn off our own switch for the purpose of load shedding’. It’s ridiculous isn’t it? but we are used to that, unfortunately!

The noise of generators at our offices during the day and the terribly noise from the “I pass my neighbour” generators makers one’s night sleepless. You run on diesel generators at work for about 8 hours, you then get into heavy traffic on your way home and when you get home late night you have to turn on the generator in order to have some relieve from terrible heat.

it is really disheartening what we go through by reason of the poor and epileptic power supply in the country. All efforts to provide Nigerians affordable, reliable and safe electricity have been elusive from one respective government to another.
Today, Nigeria can only boast of about 7,000 MW of electricity for over 170m citizens. It is not only ridiculous but very saddening that millions of Nigerians are left with the option of providing their own power by the use of power generators.

The power situation in Nigeria has been a major cause of concern for decades. From one respective administration to the other we have always hoped for an improved power sector but we have always been met with disappointments at the end.

It is no news that the epileptic Power supply throughout the nation has ampered the growth of industries as well as hindered the development of the country in all its ramifications. In addition to this, electric Tariff continues to increase without corresponding improvement in supply. Worst still, citizens are made to pay exorbitant bills for power they never consumed.

Discos complain of lack of support from Government

Discos cries fouls

Furthermore, the Generation companies (GenCos) and Distribution companies (DisCos) have always complained about not giving enough support from the Federal government to perform effectively. Hence, they are not supplying to consumers enough electricity.

Truth is, Nigerians deserve to enjoy constant and secure power supply that would guarantee not just economic growth but also personal comfort and health and productivity.

 

When shall we celebrate constant and reliable power in Nigeria? when will generators rest from constant use ? When will our environment be serene and free from noise pollutions that deprives us of quality health and productivity? When will these noisemakers be silenced!?

Plenty promises from Government and yet we see very little results. Several suggestions and policies have been made by experts and stakeholders on how to subdue this beast that has plagued our dear country for many years, yet non of these have availed to anything

Power facility vadalsThe spate of sabotage and vandalism is worrisome. Those who heck living from importing generators into the country have done all possible to frustrate every efforts at providing uninterrupted power to enduring Nigerians. I sincerely do hope our leaders would be patriotic and decisive enough to allow the same revolution in the telecommunications industry to be implemented in the power sector.

The Fedreal government should allow every states to generate and transmit their own power which would be enjoyed by their citizens. And in a situation where a state can generate more than her needs, they should be allowed to provide electricity to other states at a cost thereby serving as a source of revenue generation.

Private companies who can generate and transmit power from any environmentally friendly sources should be allowed to run with little or no federal intervention except in oversight functions and enactment of policies that would help support their growth. This will inturn bring competitiveness into the sector like we currently witness in the telecommunication sector.

The Government should also take decisive steps to gradually and strategically dissuade the importation of power generators into the country. Instead, more companies should be encourage to provide alternative power supplies (such as sola, geothermal, wind sources etc), to Nigerians at affordable prices.

Also, the government should begin to promote and provide subsidies for the use of solar panels as an alternative source of  power generation.  Solar energy is environmentally friendly and very effective too. I hope these noisemakers are silenced soonest!

Lastly, the satisfaction and productivity of Nigerian consumers should be of priority to electricity marketing companies. Nigerians should not be taking for fools.It is time to provide affordable and secure electricity to the citizens who deserve to enjoy the dividends of our democracy.

Nigeria is a great country. We are winning! Yes, we are winning!

 

GreatMark

Mark Ibigbami

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