By Kate Henshaw
As I sit here and type this article, the loud sound from my small ‘Gen’ has assailed my ears for the past five days,and that does not suggest it was not frequently on several other days. I put a tweet on the social media, twitter, complaining about the total lack of electricity and the responses I got made me think that I was no worse off than most Nigerians out there.
One person even joked that the only reason we have candle light dinner in Naija is when we don’t have light, and Gen no gree start. It is such an appalling state of affairs and we have grown accustomed to it. One wonders if things will ever change for the better.
Thankfully should I say, I have a prepaid meter installed which means that I am free from the so called ‘estimate’ bills that used to plague my existence in this my beloved country, Naija, a few years back. I always wondered how my bill was calculated given that I always never had electricity but sure as the sun would shine and there would be the breaking of the dawn, a bill would come with amounts close to N40, 000 per month to be paid or you faced being cut off from the supply. Very funny indeed! If there is never any supply of electricity from PHCN why should one fear disconnection?
On April 5, 2013, I received this general text message from my Residents Association, “The management of PHCN Lekki, just informed us of a planned power outage in Lekki for four days commencing Friday, April 5, to carry out maintenance works of two 11KVA feeders that will be connected to the newly installed 100MVA transformer at Ajah. They regret any inconvenience caused—Executive”. Quickly I swung into action and called my diesel supplier to make sure that all my drums were filled. I knew this ‘planned’ maintenance would be more than the purported time of four days. It was indeed!
This is the 5th day without electricity. I had a timetable drawn up for the usage of my two generators. The smaller would work from 6am till 7am before I leave for the gym. Upon my return at about 10:30am, it would be switched on again to enable me shower and get ready for my day and then it would be turned off again. Break time would be from whatever time I left the house till I got back, and if I got back home before 3pm, it would remain off till 6pm when I would switch over to the bigger ‘gen’ which would work from 6pm till 4am.
I am sure most people would pay a reasonable amount for constant power supply, but we don’t even have that option because of the ‘Gen’ cabal! Believe me, and I stand to be proven wrong that there are some people who are smiling to bank because entire Nigeria including Aso Rock run generator. It is not rocket science or is it? Pray tell me how does NLNG in Bonny achieve constant electricity? Do we need to have a symposium on this issue or another road map drawn up for this?
Lots of businesses budget huge sums of money which go into the fuelling and maintenance of generators to keep the office, salon, hospital, hotel, school and even the toll plaza going. This is passed straight on to the consumer who ends up paying exorbitant bills for the end product. The sound of our nation rings true through the cacophony of music provided by our massive generators while we waste money attending different fora on pollution, energy saving and climate control.
When I moved into a new neighbourhood and went to introduce myself to my new neighbours, one commented on how ‘loud’ the sound from my generator was. I shrugged and said it could not be helped after all I did not create the problem?
Why should I spend my hard-earned money to provide myself a soundproof generator? Why should I spend even more money to go the way of inverters which carry loads of batteries that need changing so often? Coupled with what we pay for every other necessity and basic need in this country—we are indeed, bearing a heavy load. We have tonnes of waste that can be converted to generate power, we have the sun which has been beating us for a couple weeks and we have water all around us, why can’ we have electricity for 24 hours, 7days a week?
In the Holy Bible, God commanded there to be light and there was light. No living thing on the surface of this earth can exist without some form of light, even the moon. So my parting words to PHCN, as I switch over to my big ‘gen’ for the night are LET THERE BE LIGHT!