Photograph — inRefco

Nigerian opinion polling and research organization, NOI polls, recently released a report stating that 64% of households across Nigeria “experienced tremendous improvement in power supply over the third quarter (Q3) of 2015 (July – September 2015)”. The opinion poll conducted from January 2013 till September 2015 was done through telephone interviews with a random sample of 33,000 people across Nigeria. The poll report titled “Nigerians Witness Significant Improvement in Power Supply over Q3 2015” indicates that this improvement was significant because it represented a 37% increase in power supply from the second quarter (Q2) of 2015 (April – June 2015).

The report further attributed this improvement to a rise in the country’s power generation, with a maximum value of 4800 megawatts during this period. This data represents the highest improvement in power sector since it was privatized in 2013. However, the improvement in power supply within the Q3 of 2015 reduced from 62% in July to 60% in August, probably due to the shutdown of the Utorogu Gas plant, Trans Niger pipeline, and Nembe creek Trunkline. An average of 235 megawatts per hour daily was reported to have dropped within 6 days in August.

Credit - NOI Polls

The report also revealed that the North Central zone (geo-political) of Nigeria benefited more from the tremendous improvement in power supply with a 70% increase. In contrast, the South-South region recorded the lowest improvement with a 47% increase. Ola, a student based in Abuja  commented on this, “It is true. We’ve had light almost 24/7 in my area since June … I think it is because of Buhari.” Nigerians in other parts of the country – Ibadan, Lagos and Port Harcourt – concurred with this statement, saying it was probably due to the fear of Buhari that power supply has become better. On the flip side, people in the South-South region have not benefited from this improvement. “It has generally been the same here. We have light for a day, and it is off for the next two days,” said Funmi from Warri. The same was said by people in Lokoja and Okada.

Implications of this report

The reduced use of power-generating sets – one of Nigeria’s alternative sources to power supply – will lead to a reduction in the volume of petrol bought to fuel them. Tolu, a banker in Ibadan said “servicing and maintenance alone was a big amount. I also used to spend about a thousand naira on fuel every two days which is approximately 3000 naira in a week. Imagine the amount in a month. I don’t spend that much on my NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) bills.” This means more savings for Nigerians. Noise and air pollution will also be curtailed, as the gases emitted from these generators are detrimental to human health. These are some of the advantages of the latest improvement in power supply.

Will this trend continue? People have said that the fear of president Buhari, coupled with increased rainfall in the third quarter of 2015, is responsible for improved power supply. Nigerians are on a look out to ascertain whether or not this improvement will be long term; with institutions like the NOI polls, tracking the improvement of the power sector, this would not be a problem

Below are a few of the tweets about Electricity in Nigeria.

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