It is to the joy of a consumer to gain satisfaction in the purchase of a commodity. Electricity is a commodity in high demand in our modern society. Almost every gadget is being designed to be power driven. The energy conversion in question is from electrical energy generated to either mechanical or heat energy needed for operation.
Electricity makes life easier for mankind. The reason why most industries go into extinction is due to the overburden cost of power in operation. The machines used for production are electrically driven and as such, after a while, they reach their ‘yield point’. The prices of some goods that are yet to be shipped into the country are sky-rocketed in order to make up for all the expenses. Most consumers pull back when the price is high. Of course, this obeys the law of demand. The lower the price the higher the quantity demanded, the higher the price the lesser the demand.
The epileptic power supply in the nation has driven most Nigerians not to see electricity as a viable commodity. It isn’t readily available, yet people pay bills, not just bills, but exorbitant bills. Even when the wires are cut off, the bills keep coming. Paying for what was not consumed? Infact, it’s now a norm for bills to be coming before the end of the month. It is very incorrect and unacceptable to look at a house and just estimate a hundred thousand a month in the name of estimated bills.
Stable power is key for job creation. So many small scale enterprises depend solely on electricity, from the barber along the roadside to the welder, the caterer, the laundry man, the fashion designer, the hair stylist, the Aluminum fabricator, etc. They all run their businesses with the use of electricity.
Well, it is said that “When The Desirable Is Not Available, The Available Becomes The Desirable”. To this end, Nigerians are good in adaptation, they switch to alternative power supply sources (Generators, Solar Inverters) to keep business going but still the Power Holding Company insists on demanding for payment over unconsumed electricity. And unfortunately, it’s the customers who have to bear the blunt by having to pay the increased bills. This menace has to be stopped.
The introduction of the prepaid meters is a welcome idea. However, with its rare usage, one begins to wonder why it is being hoarded. It came with the relief of ‘pay as you consume’, as we have in the telecommunication sector. Currently, we have the power generation companies, power transmission and power distribution companies. These companies should either be healthy or be healed of any ailment for steady power supply, as it remains a needed commodity. Standing on the fence is not allowed, existing but not functional.
Electric power supply was first handled by the government (The Nigerian Electric Power Authority, NEPA) before it was privatized. This was supposed to have brought some good level of improvement; rather ‘SOME’ are taking advantage of the situation. It may amaze you that the capacity in duration of power supply to some areas in a month is not up to seventy two (72) hours, yet a monthly bill is to be paid. Those running cold room will express more bitterness in this regard. Foods that need to be preserved are going bad, yet they keep paying bills of a commodity they didn’t consume.
“Nigeria has been ranked the second worst electricity supply Nation in 2017, after Yemen” – Spectator Index.
We can improve on these grey areas. Nigerians can see electricity as a good commodity and the nation can experience SMEs sprouting in good number when electricity is approached as a commodity needed for sustainable development. I rest my case!
Written by Ogherodia Kelly Obukohwo