In a true story that happened in Nigeria, a house owner installed a prepaid power meter which informs him the amount of electricity units he consumes instantly in his house. He later installed these wall sockets pictured below, that come with ‘fancy’ red lights. When you switch the socket on, the light on the socket comes on. He had so many of them in his house. He kept on enjoying the tiny red lights on all his sockets anytime power comes on or he switches an appliance on. After some time of observation of his power consumption, he quickly uninstalled all the sockets and replaced them with ones without lights. He realized just the lights on the sockets consume power on their own, unnecessarily. They were simply not needed. In fact, they are a source of visual pollution if you switch the lights off to go to bed. Most at times, that’s when you plug in your phone to charge. The light from the socket, if in your eyesight, will disturb you before eventually sleeping off.
A lot of people now are trying to make more energy-efficient choices, amidst increased electricity tariff in Nigeria. On February the 1st of this year, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission increased the tariff of electricity in Nigeria. I want to first,commiserate with Nigerians living in the country and living on the grid over the increased electricity tariffs and then go ahead and give a suggestion how you can reduce your electricity consumption and start paying less. But first, what do the new figures mean to those using prepaid and post-paid meters.
Prepaid Billing System
If you live in Kaduna and on a three-phase system, you will be paying 26.41 NGN per kWh according to the new regulation. If you use prepaid meters and you buy say 100 units, that is 100 kWh (kilowatt-hours). And if for instance you buy those 100 watts bulbs I used to purchase before, say you get 3 of them. It will take about 333.33 hours (100 kWh divide by 300 watts) of use to consume the 100 units you purchased (assuming the bulbs didn’t blow up before then). 333.33 hours is about 14 days. But you don’t have a single bulb and it will not be on for the entire 14 days straight. However, you have other appliances drawing more than a 100 watts per hour, and they will be on for virtually the whole time, eg. your refrigerator. The more appliances you use, the more the units get consumed.
Postpaid Billing System
If you have a post-billing system, this is what 100 kWh means. If you work in a shop with 3 light bulbs with a wattage of 100 watts. And you turn on those bulbs for about 10 hours daily. The amount of power they will consume is 100 watts multiplied by the 3 light bulbs multiplied by 10 hours, which equals 3000 watt-hour or simply 3 kWh (kilo stands for a 1000). The electricity provider says you have to pay 26.41 Naira / kWh. It will cost you 26.41 Naira / kWh multiplied by 3 kWh i.e. 79.23 Naira to light your shop for 10 hours. Do that for 30 days, that is 2, 376.9 Naira of power bill.
So it means the higher the power rating the electrical appliance you buy and the longer it keeps operating, the higher your electricity bill and the faster the units will finish. This is why the change is a good deal for low consumers and a terrible deal for high consumers who normally have many electrical appliances like ACs, refrigerators, freezers, many light bulbs, electric kettles etc. Chances are that you are already frowning at the new regulation.
Why the change in charges?
The distributors removed the fixed charges and increased the variable charges. The former is normally around 700 to 800 NGN and you all pay monthly, whether you consume electricity or not, whether you locked your house and traveled to another continent and stayed in a tent without power for a long time, you will come back to pay the fixed charges (plus reconnection fee).
For you to see significant changes, there is a mindset you have to adopt. Be more conscious of how you use your electric appliances. Whenever you are not using any electric appliance, switch it off, and I mean switch off the socket on the wall. Do not leave a room with the lights on. Switch off always before going out. If you happen to be among those people still using those super bright 100 watts bulbs in all your light fittings, please be sure to switch them off when you do not them. It is best to replace these light bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs or CFLs that consume less than 50 watts, even though they will cost more. I will familiarize you with how to check power rating of electrical appliances in my subsequent posts. In order not to miss it, be sure to subscribe to my blog and get an email straight to your inbox with a link to the post.
It is not always that you need the light bulbs. When the sun is up, you can draw your curtains and let the sun rays or daylight to illuminate your indoor spaces. Using daylight enables you to cut a lot of power usage. The sun rays will be bright enough and you do not have to switch on the lights for the better part of the day. It turns out there is a particular way buildings can be designed to let in maximum daylight for advantages like this, it is called bio-climatic design. More on that some time. Be sure to subscribe to my blog if you do not want to miss them. Especially if you have an intention of building a house soon, you have to go for a bio-climatic or energy-efficient design. It will save you a lot of money from paying power bills. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to learn of other ways of reducing your house or office power consumption.
If I may ask you, how much units of electricity do you use monthly? Does it upset you that you pay a lot? Do you want to know other great ways of reducing how much electricity you consume?