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Poor Nigerians Most Burdened By High Electricity Tariff

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Low income earners in Nigeria are finding it very difficult to pay electricity bills, Prime Business Africa has discovered.

Only 22% of the very poor household in Nigeria have access to electricity, taking over from Democratic Republic of Congo as most unelectrified country globally, according to recent World Bank report on Nigeria Power Sector Recovery Programme.

Prime Business Africa discovered that poor Nigerians that represents the 22% with access to electricity are mostly on Class D and Class E service band. Electricity is supposedly supplied for only 8 hours on class D, and supplied for only 4 hours in class E.

However, a minimum wage earner, Mr Bilewu Olaoluwa, who spoke to Prime Business Africa’s reporter, said they barely get between 2 to 4 hours of electricity in his area.

“In this area, they hardly give give us light, except at night and they can only give us for 2 hours or 4 hours sometimes,” he said.

Mr Olaoluwa, who works as a gateman with the federal government and earns N30,000 monthly which is the current minimum wage, lives in a small home in a rural area around Agility in mile 12, Lagos. The apartment where he lives with his wife and two children is a room partitioned into two halves of parlour and bedroom with a curtain. The electric appliances are just one radio, one 14-inches television, a small three face socket, one bulb in the kitchen, toilet and room.

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The new price for electricity per hour as seen in NERC website, is N62.33 per hour which implies that a 30,000 salary earner will pay as much as N498.64 per day and N14,959.2 every month out of a salary of N30,000.

The implication is that Olaoluwa will be left with N15,040.8 after paying his electricity bill if he does not want to be disconnected from the electricity supplier which will leave him and his family in darkness.

According to Prime Business Africa’s findings, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) pumped over N1.5 trillion into the power sector about 7 years ago in order to prevent it from collapsing, but impact of this money and others that had been sunk into the sector over the years has not been felt.

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Data released by Nigeria Electricity System Operator (NESO) shows that out of the required 28,880 megawatts, the country is barely able to provide 5,000megawatt for houses and business, which leaves a gap of 23,880megawatt undersupply of electricity.

Even as NESO data said that 5,000 megawatts is being provided, Prime Business Africa gathered that only an average of 4,500 megawatts is distributed daily and the lowest is 2,000 which is a meagre of the required 28,880 Megawatts.

Despite the massive undersupply of electricity in Nigeria, the government is still planning on increasing the tariff further, as the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman had earlier in May, admitted that the electricity tariff will be increased in July but not “significantly”.


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