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Blackout in Auchi, commercial activities grounded

Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Auchi, headquarters of the local government area showed that the situation had compelled many residents and small-scale businesses to resort to the use of electricity generating sets as an alternative.  

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In Auchi and Jattu, power supply does not last for more than two hours in a day.

Some residents who spoke to NAN said the epileptic power supply had led to high cost of some essential goods and services thereby making life in the area uncomfortable.

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A resident, Ohis Dirisu, told NAN that “the cost of a sachet of water has risen from N5 to N10, a bottle of mineral now sells at N70 as against its former price of N60 and we buy malt drinks now at N120 instead of N100.’’

A sachet water hawker, Maimunat Ambrose, attributed the increase in the prices of the items to high cost of ice blocks, which she said, had risen from N70 to N120 for the medium size.

Similarly, a dealer in ice blocks who identified himself simply as Lucky explained that the cost of fuelling generator was high.

Lucky said that it had been difficult for him to break even in the business due to the high cost of powering his generator set, adding that he was still in the business just to keep his customers.

The inadequate power supply was also affecting hair dressing and barbing saloons as it had forced them to increase the cost of their services.

NAN reports that while some scale businesses were managing to remain afloat, others had been forced out of business because of the epileptic power supply.

“Those of us who cannot afford generators have been forced to remain at home. We come out only when we find light and that happens once in a long time and the light does not last for more one hour,’’  Mrs Alimat Ibrahim, a bar owner, said.

Alimat stated that her customers had stopped patronising her as she could no longer stock cold drinks due to her inability to buy a generator or ice blocks regularly.

The Business Manager of PHCN, Auchi District, Mr Francis Iyayi, attributed the poor power supply to low generation caused by shortage of gas supply to the organisation’s generating sets.

Iyayi said that the district was receiving very low supply from Uromi Transmission Station that fed the area.

He said: “What we need to service our customers in the district is about 50 megawatts, what we are getting before now was between 25 megawatts and 30 megawatts, but for some time now, we have been limited to 15 megawatts.

“The reason for this is that aside from the low power generation being experienced nationwide, the installed capacity of Uromi station is 90 megawatts.

“This is what customers in Auchi, Agbor and Uromi areas depend on and currently, we ration whatever we receive from the national grid.’’

Iyayi assured electricity consumers in the area that the situation would improve with the efforts being made by the federal and Edo State governments in the sector.

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