In Northern Nigerian States, Poor Electricity Affect Businesses, Increases Cost of Living

As epileptic power supply continues nationwide, residents across states in Northern Nigeria have narrated their ordeals and how the problem is taking a toll on their lives. 

In Misau LGA of Bauchi state, daily business activities have declined. Muhammed Ishaq, a shop owner in a low-cost area, told WikkiTimes that his business has been crippled as many customers no longer patronize his local zobo and fresh milk due to power shortage that affects their cooling system.

According to him, there is decline in his customers almost on a daily basis as he couldn’t supply them with cold drinks, a business he defended for his daily earnings.

“You see me here doing nothing, my customers are not coming due to the lack of cold drinks to buy. This power shortage has affected me. My zobo and fresh milk are no longer cold and people are not buying. They only bring power supply for a short time and it will go”.

“Lack of electric power supply is affecting us, we can’t afford to buy fuel and power generators. This is what I defend upon to feed my family. And again they are planning to increase the tariff, how can we pay for darkness when they can’t even supply us with good five hours light “ said Ishaq.

The story is the same with Alhassan Ibrahim who used to sell pure water in large quantities to young hawkers, as according to him there’s decline on a daily basis as the boys and girls no longer show up.

“I used to sell ten or more bags of pure water in the morning to young hawkers who in turn go around markets and bus stops selling it in small quantities. But since this power shortage continues to occur, they stopped coming because the water is not cold and even when there is little cold it will soon become hot”.

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“I asked one of them the day before yesterday and what he told me is that they can’t come and buy it because the water is not cold and they can’t sell it. What can I do about it? JED has failed us because this two or one hour supply per day will not take our business anywhere”, said Alhassan.

As many business owners and households lament the decline in power supply, checks by WikkiTimes revealed that the maximum time residents get power supply is two hours except two days ago, which customers attributed to the end of month as they may go for cash collection.

“We have seen light for some hours yesterday and today. You know it is the end of the month, so they may come with bills and cash collection that’s why”, said Maman Aisha, a housewife in Misau.

WikkiTimes recalled that as the power outage continued within Bauchi and Gombe states, the Jos Electricity Distribution has apologized to its customers within the region, attributing the outrage to vandalization of Jos-Gombe 330Kv TCN line.

The JED Management said as a result of the vandalization of the transmission line, it is forced to merge Gombe and Bauchi states in allocating power supply to them, thus embarking on load shedding.

With Gombe receiving power supply from Bauchi, JED said it is allocated 10 MW by Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN) for its customers in Gombe and Ashaka Cement Plant, thus appealing to its customers as it has no alternative than to opt for load shedding.

A statement by Friday Adakole Elijah, Head Corporate Communications, assured customers that as soon as the vandalized towers were reconstructed and full supply restored, normal power supply would resume in all the states.

Water Scarcity, As Lack Of Electricity Bites Harder In Gombe

In Gombe state, locals have lamented that the lack of electricity has harbored water scarcity, making the situation worse. 

One Mrs Abel from Labor Quarters said she has been compelled to buy water at an expensive price due to the lack of electricity. 

“These are trying times. But it will come to pass. All we ask for is electricity. We pay our bills. I don’t understand. Imagine buying a tank of water for almost N20, 000, it’s overwhelming,” she said. 

Aishatu Ibrahim, a house wife in Riyal Quarters, also complained that the power outage has drastically taken away their water supply, adding that the only alternative left is to solar installation. 

“But even solar panels are expensive and without light, there is no water. Life just got more difficult but we thank God,” she said.

For Bello, a Charging Shop business owner, he has gotten more customers since the power outage, but he is unhappy with the situation as well. 

“More people are coming here to pay and charge their phones every day because there is no light. But I am not happy with the situation because it’s also affecting me. I have to buy fuel at an expensive rate,” he said.

Price of commodities on the rise in Jigawa

In Jigawa State capital Dutse, many communities experience just one or two hours of electricity per day. This has led to the destruction of food materials, going days without water and a rise in the prices of water and other commodities.

Speaking to a resident in Dutse Yahaya Malanta about the electricity in his area, he said a lot of people in his area can’t pump water as there is no light and fuel is costly.

“We can’t say we don’t get light, although we know in the past light was more frequent.  We just don’t get it as frequently as we used to.”

 “The lack of electricity has caused a lot of discomfort for us. For example , lack of electricity has caused houses that use Somo boreholes powered by electricity to not be able to pump water for daily usage and fuel can’t be used as it is expensive. Cold and ice water sellers go through the same problem of poor electricity which in a way affects us the buyers, especially in this heat and if we are lucky to get cold water or ice block then we pay extra for it.”

Speaking to another resident Hauwa Sani, a housewife lamented the damages the lack of frequent electricity hours has caused to their foodstuffs in the freezers. 

“There is light but it’s not enough, you cook to warm up tomorrow morning but the lack of light mostly leads to the food spoiling because of the heat.  Whatever you put in the freezer goes bad in no time as the electricity hour is too small to help keep the freezer cold. We get about one to two hours of electricity on lucky days, which is not enough.”

Mal Sadiq Muhammed a businessman also complained about how the light issue is affecting his business

“We all are in this problem. The light is mostly in pictures, we don’t see it in real life. What I mean is you will see a wired street with no electricity to back that up even after the government’s promises. 

We don’t get light for long; the highest is two hours of light at most, my business needs frequent electricity to photocopy and print out documents but due to the light issue and fuel price increase, I have to wait for when the light comes on. This light issue has created problems. For example, you want to take cold water but don’t have it at home, meaning you have to buy it outside with extra money.

Bauchi state residents react to extreme heat, amid poor power supply

The heat in Bauchi state is worsened by the almost total blackout. Many residents in the Gwallemaji community say they are unable to sleep comfortably in their homes due to the unbearable heat.

According to them, the situation is worsened by the almost total blackout being presently experienced in the community.

Mr Yaya Bello Father of five who lives in a small apartment in Gwallemaji community said that due to unstable power supply, He and his Family now devise a means of sleeping inside the compound due to the unbearable weather and lack of power to put on his cooling device. 

Bello added, Few days ago around 2am while my family and I were sleeping outside, a scorpion stung my last  daughter on her leg. “I know how I suffered to get help that night for my daughter”.

Mary Azi also described the situation as very frustrating. According to her, when there’s no electricity a lot of things go wrong.

“My neighbor was almost bitten by a snake last month,while trying to sleep inside the compound due to the unbearable weather”

” I hope the government and other stakeholders in the power sector are doing something to ensure steady electricity,” she said.

With the power grid faltering frequently coupled with weak power materials, businesses are facing immense challenges in maintaining operations, leading to financial losses and a significant strain on livelihoods.

Ahmed Adamu, owner of a small-scale manufacturing company in Bauchi, expressed his frustration, stating, “The constant power outages have severely impacted our production schedules. We rely heavily on electricity to operate our machinery, and the disruptions have led to delays in fulfilling orders, resulting in financial losses. Imagine, when there is no light and no fuel, how can a business continue.”

Sumayya Ashiru Mohammed, who runs a local restaurant, explained the detrimental effects of the power outages on her business. “Our restaurant depends on refrigeration to preserve perishable goods. With frequent power cuts, we are forced to dispose of spoiled food, leading to increased expenses and reduced profitability,” she lamented.

In Kano

Businesses, households continue to suffer as power blackouts persist in many areas of Kano metropolitan areas. 

Some residents told WikkiTimes that they are confused as they don’t even know which band they belong to as there was no certainty of when light comes and goes. 

Musa Ammani, a resident of Dakata said the greatest challenge for them was scarcity of water due to the absence of light. 

“We are finding respite whenever there’s light but currently, we are suffering due to absence of electricity to pump up water, Ammani said. 

WikkiTimes observed that a jerrican of water  now  sells for between 100-120 naira due to lack of light in many areas in Kano such as Dakata,Brigade, Giginyu among others.

An ice block vendor, Ali Ibrahim, said that “The situation is very bad that I don’t even understand it. They increase electricity tariff but they supply us with darkness. It is a very difficult situation for any business that relies on electricity like us.

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