Residents, business owners decry continuous power outage in FCT

Electricity supply

Some residents and business owners in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, have decried the continuous power outage in the area by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

The residents, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said that the situation was not only causing discomfort but crippling economic activities in the area.

Mr Ayu Johnathan, one of the residents, said that inconsistent power supply to homes and business areas, especially with the current weather and economic challenges, was too much discomfort.

He added that consistent power outage may cause small businesses to fold up, while adding that some businesses that needed constant power might no longer function properly.

According to him, the weather is already too hot and everyone may want to enjoy the breeze from a fan or an air-conditioner while indoors, especially after a long day from work or hustle, but no light.

“While some may get it for an hour or more, some areas do not even get it for a day or two.

“Some areas get for just few minutes and it is gone, and this is not good, especially for those in the commercial areas where stores with frozen foods, blocks and the rest are sold.

”They require power to process and store these produce.

“It was not like this last year, at least there was an improvement from the power company but since this year, everything seems different and if it continues like this, it may cripple businesses.”

Johnathan, therefore, urged the Federal Government to look into the epileptic power supply in Abuja, the nation at large and find a lasting solution to the issue.

Similarly, Mrs Ronke Adewunmi, a store owner in Bwari town, said that it was unfortunate that the situation was happening amid the high cost of fuel.

This, she said, had cost lots of business owners’ losses as some could not afford to switch to their generator sets, while those who could, hike their prices.

”This power outage, slowed down my business, because everyone wanted cold drinks some days ago in large quantity and I didn’t have any to sell.

“If I have to buy fuel to power my generator, I may have to increase the price of drinks and people may not buy much because not many can afford it.

“It is unfortunate that now that we are on prepaid metre, we don’t get light constantly like before and we need it for our businesses.

“I won’t make profit if this continues, I am not happy at all, no light at home not my shop, it’s disheartening”, she said.

She added that relevant stakeholders must work speedily towards restoring power to communities in the area, to discourage robbery attacks and other criminal activities during the night.

Similarly, Mr Matthew Onoja, another resident and business man, also said that government needed to put more effort into providing better power supply, especially with the incessant hike in power tariff.

He said it was only logical for the people to get value for the services they pay highly for and at all times.

“The whole of yesterday, I was not able to achieve anything in my office because of this power outage. I work in a cyber cafe and this power outage really affected us yesterday.

“With light, our customers have access to all our computers but with generator, we can only use three or four because that’s the much it can carry, so yesterday, we didn’t make much profit.

“Since the days of our forefathers, power has always been issues in this country, even making other African countries make fun of us for our inconsistent power generation.

“The government should do something about this, it is not about increasing tariff every time; at least let us see what we are paying for, and then we will not grumble if it increases again.

“I even came to work wearing rumpled clothes today and it is not nice at all, “Matthew said.

In another development, residents of Masaka in Nasarawa State have also called on the government and relevant authorities to rectify issues surrounding the over one month power outage in the area.

A business woman, Mrs Elizabeth Ehizo, said that power failure in the area had slowed down her business.

According to her, there has been no power supply for months now. We have been buying diesel for our business and the cost of diesel is very high and as a result of that we do not make profits again.

”The price of cold sachet water before now was N250 per bag but it is now sold for N500 because of this issue of power. We sell to retailers at the rate of N450 but customers are still complaining.

“How do we remain in business if we don’t bring the price up? We want those concerned to come and help us as we cannot continue depending on diesel for businesses.”

Miss Joy Joseph, a supermarket owner, while expressing worry over the lingering situation, said that the power outage had affected her business drastically and she could no longer meet up with sales.

According to her, it is almost impossible for me to have cold drinks and water for sale and my customers are complaining.

”Ice block is now expensive; I buy one ice block for N1,500 to cool the water and other drinks and still run at a loss after selling them.”

Joseph, while appealing for speedy solution to the unfortunate situation, urged government to improve on the power system and ensure that policies meant to improve on service delivery to consumers were achieved.

Meanwhile, another resident, Mrs Olaitan Awoso, a hairstylist, said that she had lost patronage in her salon due to lack of electricity in the area.

She said that the situation was becoming unbearable for business owners who needed power to render their services.

”The price of washing and drying hair before was N500, but now it is N1, 200 and our customers are complaining. Most of them now buy shampoo and wash their hair themselves at home.

“This is not good for us. We need to do better as a government.  People will appreciate it more if they see the light before they can pay for it or even at least , enjoy what they paid for,” she said.

Awoso, prayed for a divine intervention in the system, while also praying that the government, listened to the plight of the people by bringing succour to the entire economic challenges.

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