Residents of neighbourhoods in Lekki, Lagos, have lamented the poor power supply by Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and the losses they have incurred due to the epileptic power supply in the region.
The affected areas, Agungi Lekki, Osapa Lekki, Ologolo Lekki, and Idado Lekki also accuse the electricity distribution company of supplying steady power to rich estates in the neighbourhood, to the detriment of other residents.
“Relocating to Agungi Lekki months ago has been a nightmare as I never envisaged this situation of frequent low voltage and unstable power supply here. It affects my business, electrical appliances and all,” Nita Edadagbon, a resident of Agungi Lekki, said.
Several business owners and workers in the area told PREMIUM TIMES how they incur losses due to damage of appliances by low or high voltage and extra financial burden fueling their generators.
Poor electricity supply has been a lingering issue in many parts of Nigeria, leaving citizens to source their own supply. Many residents also pay huge electricity bills, an amount not proportionate to the power supply they receive.
Despite being the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has not been able to generate a power supply sufficient for its over 200 million population.
In a quarterly report published by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation (NERC), the 11 distribution companies (DisCos) in Nigeria received a total of 204,506 complaints from customers in the first quarter of 2020 and another 203,116 complaints in the second quarter, a totally 407,622 complaints in the first half of 2020.
“The DisCos’ customer complaints centred on service interruption, poor voltage, load shedding, metering, estimated billing, delayed connection, among others,” the NERC report stated.
The statistics showed that the DisCos received an average of 2,247 and 2,232 complaints per day in the first and second quarter respectively.
Despite the huge potentials to generate power in Nigeria with a capacity of 12,522 megawatts (MW), the country has not been able to generate enough power for its million households.
Residents of Agungi Lekki, Osapa Lekki, Ologolo Lekki and Idado Lekki had earlier written a petition against EKEDC on the poor power supply and other issues.
“We are not in the 90s where power supply was not constant, this is 2020 as I believe that EKEDC can actually, do better.
“As grade A customers, it is disappointing that we are not satisfied with the daily power given to us also, we spend heavily on petrol and diesel when the prices have gone up drastically.
“This has affected our finances coupled with the noise and air pollution when we turn on our generators. We are writing a petition against poor daily power supply, inappropriate time for shedding, frequent low voltage that has damaged our expensive electrical appliances,” the petition partly read.
Several residents spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the difficulties they experience.
“People have the thought that people who live in Lekki enjoy adequate power supply but that is not the case, it has been terrible. We have been suffering,” Miss Edadagbon said.
She told PREMIUM TIMES that the transformer in the area ”is not good enough to supply power to the neighbourhood, making the power supply go from bad to worse.”
“Even when there is a power supply, the fluctuations have damaged our electrical appliances, expensive ones. It has been consistently low voltage and fluctuations here and there. Every day, they keep trying to revive a feeder that supplies power to different transformers in the Agungi area.
“It is very obvious that the equipment is poor, they don’t listen to us, we want the NERC to know that we are suffering in Agungi, they want to kill us, we pay so much,” she said.
Odunayo, a resident of Ologolo Lekki, said the power supply was good when she moved to the area about eight years ago.
“Then, public power supply from PHCN was quite okay, we were having between 14 and 20 hours of power supply on most days. We knew their schedule- the days we are meant to have supply and the days we would not have except a major fault occurred.”
For her, the power supply has steadily deteriorated as the area developed and more people come into the neighbourhood.
“A lot of buildings and estates have come up recently in the neighbourhood. This would have stretched the existing equipment and facilities of EKEDC servicing this zone which is expected to have expanded to be able to meet up with the increasing number of customers they service but this is not the real situation of things.
“Power supply from EKEDC keeps reducing by the day. It has always been from one problem to the other. Their excuses on the platform have always been ranging from load shedding of 33 KVA from TCN, faulty feeders, and low voltage fluctuating between 90 and 200volts,” she said.
Another resident of Osapa-Lekki, Anthony Bassey, accused EKEDC of using weak fuses that supply low voltages from transformers to the areas.
“Most of the equipment needs to be changed or upgraded to newer ones with a bigger capacity to meet up with the increasing population of this neighbourhood,” he said.
“People are losing money, a lot of people are working from home due to the pandemic, many businesses run from home and the impact is crazy on the economy of the people who rely on diesel to power their appliances,” Chinedu Barns-Nnagbo from Idado-Lekki lamented.
He added that some estates in the neighbourhood ”have a special arrangement with EKEDC” for 20 hours of steady power supply, while others are suffering.
“The effect of these estates are also part of it. Their lights are not interrupted, they are getting what they are paying for while the general masses are losing. Electricity is being sold to these estates,” Mr Barns-Nnagbo said.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Babatunde Lasaki, the spokesperson of EKEDC, he said the company is aware of the issues and plans are underway to correct them.
“It is just a matter of weeks, in a few weeks residents will begin to enjoy a relatively stable power supply. It is in the interest of the company as we are losing revenue because residents are not enjoying steady supply,” the official said.
He said with the new band structure of the distribution company by NERC, residents of the affected areas ”are supposed to enjoy about 15 to 20 hours of power supply because they are placed on Band A and B”.
“The issue is within some isolated areas within the Agungi axis and not the entire stretch of the neighbourhood and we have identified the faults. We have engaged with the residents and resident association of that area.
“As regards the complaint they made that some estates are enjoying 20 hours supply, while they are not, it is not so. The problem has to do with some faults in that axis and some of the things we have done so far is to improve the capacity of the injection substation in that axis,” Mr Lasaki said.
He added that EKEDC has procured a bigger power transformer that is currently being installed in the area to boost the supply and reduce the intermittent phase of the load shedding as well as the outages residents have been complaining about.
“We also released that the topography of that axis is a bit challenged and many people who live in that area, during their construction, the way the installation of their electrical wires are a bit faulty. As a result of that, they have earthing issues, the majority of the houses in that area have earthing issues.
“We have engaged with the people and estate authorities to help them rework some of the electricals. We bought a bigger transformer to supply power and we are working with individuals on the rewiring and installation of the wiring.,” Mr Lasaki said.
Although the problem with electricity supply in the areas have been lingering for over a year, the EKEDC official said in ‘weeks’, all maintenance and installation works will be completed.