In October 2013, the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria handed over the running and management of its electricity supply and distribution to private operators (DISCOS). There were high hopes and high expectations from Nigerians that at least the challenges of power would be minimized if not solved altogether. Nigerians reveled in that singular decision by the FG, heralding it as a new era of change and signs of better things to come in the power sector. Also praying and hoping that the ‘days of darkness’ are gradually coming to an end but knew little that the days of thicker gloom were just around the corner.
The supply and distribution of power have been very depressing. Most part of the country celebrated the holiday period under the cloak of darkness. Some Nigerian have adapted to the darkness. Just last week a policeman at Oshodi termed the persistent power outage as normal .To him, it is normal if there is no light. We can begin to see the level of dehumanization going on; the extent the country had conditioned the mindset of many Nigerians to negativism.
Some Nigerians sought for alternative in the form of power generating sets, emitting large volumes of carbon to the atmosphere thereby contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. There are also the dangers of choking on the fumes of these generating sets, there were instances of whole family being wiped out from the fumes.
Still at the end of the month, the DISCOS will come with their ladder demanding to be paid or else one will be cut off. This is why we witness on occasions where staffs of the DISCOS were beaten often by the angry people they plan to cut off from receiving power.
And to make matters worse, just recently, the Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Sam Amadi announced an increase in electricity tariff for commercial users starting in January and of domestic users will kick off in June. Is this announcement not adding salt to injury? Why should Nigerians pay for what they did not use? Why should a tariff increase be hanging over the heads of domestic users like the sword of Damocles when the Commission is not doing anything to better power supply?
Another year 2015 is here, what plans does the Commission have for Nigerians? The NERC chairman stated that the DISCOS were given about 6 months to improve power supply, but we have heard this before but just for the sake of the New Year, Nigerians are once again willing to give them the benefit of doubt, willing to be optimistic as usual to see what transpires between now and June.