Optimising electricity bill management includes strategic energy usage, adopting efficient appliances, unplugging idle devices, insulating effectively, utilising natural lighting, and consistent heating, among others, JOSEPHINE OGUNDEJI writes.
In the vibrant neighborhood of Oshodi in Lagos, Nigeria, the Adekunle family lived in a modest yet cozy apartment. Olumide Adekunle, a skilled mechanic, and his wife, Amina, cherished their home where they have raised three wonderful children.
However, when news of the proposed 40 percent increase in electricity tariffs reached their ears, it cast a shadow over their usually cheerful household.
One evening, after a long day of work, Olumide sat down with his family to discuss the matter. The living room was illuminated by a single flickering light bulb, a stark reminder of the potential changes to come. His children, curious and concerned, listened as Olumide shared the news and its potential impact on their lives.
Amina, a resourceful and enterprising woman, spoke up. “We’ve faced challenges before,” she said, her voice brimming with determination. “We can find a way to navigate this too.”
Olumide nodded in agreement. Together, they began brainstorming ideas on how to tackle the impending increase in electricity tariffs. Their primary concern was adhering to the financial rule of not letting rent exceed 30 percent of their annual income.
The next day, Amina visited their neighbours, the Uzohs, who owned a small convenience store. Over cups of hot tea, Amina shared her worries about the proposed tariff increase. To her surprise, Mr. Uzoh revealed that he had been researching energy-efficient appliances for his store to cut costs. They hatched a plan to explore these options together.
As the Adekunles and the Uzohs dug deeper into energy-saving techniques, they discovered a wealth of information online and through community workshops. They replaced their old appliances with more energy-efficient models, educated their children about turning off lights and unplugging devices, and even pooled resources to buy energy-efficient light bulbs in bulk.
Recently, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, alongside eleven Electricity Distribution Companies, put forth a proposal for a 40 percent increase in electricity tariffs. However, this move was met with opposition from the National Assembly, which includes both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Responding to public concerns, the National Assembly requested a suspension of the proposed tariff hike, aiming to provide temporary relief to the Nigerian populace. While the exact increase is still being adjusted, with figures now ranging from 23 percent to 30 percent, the National Assembly emphasised that implementing any tariff raise at this juncture would adversely affect Nigerians’ well-being. This is especially relevant as Nigerians are already grappling with the repercussions of the removal of petrol subsidies.
With the continuous rise in utility expenses, particularly in electricity, adhering to the financial guideline of limiting rent to not more than 30 percent of annual income has become increasingly challenging for individuals. As a result, numerous households are actively seeking effective strategies to reduce their electricity bills and improve their overall expense management.
According to Money Africa, here are some practical tips to help you save on your electricity bill:
Ask the right questions: Before you even consider moving into an apartment, inquire with the agent or landlord about the electricity setup. Ensure that there are no outstanding debts attached to your meter, whether you are metered or non-metered customer.
Turn off lights when leaving your home: One sure way to reduce electricity consumption in your home is to always switch off the lights when leaving a room. It is easy to forget to do this every time, but you can cultivate a conscious habit of doing so.
Unplug devices: When not in use, unplug electronic devices and chargers. Many devices draw power even when turned off, contributing to “phantom” energy usage.
Use energy-efficient bulbs: Switching to energy-efficient lighting can also save you money on your energy bills. LED light bulbs, for example, use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also last longer, so you won’t have to replace them as often.
Use fans instead of air conditioners: We all love the soft life of having an air conditioner in our homes, but they don’t have to be on all the time; otherwise, one would have to deal with a high electricity bill. You can have ceiling or standing fans to complement your ACs in your sitting rooms and bedroom.
Opt for cooking gas: Choosing to cook with gas presents a more cost-effective option compared to using electricity for cooking. With consistent hours of cooking time, electricity bills for both metered and non-metered consumers can become exorbitant. Considering the prevailing economic challenges in Nigeria, relying on electricity for prolonged cooking is not a sustainable choice for many households.
Use solar panels: If you can afford it, install a solar panel in your home. One efficient way to reduce the cost of electricity is by installing solar panels. Solar power can supplement your electricity needs and reduce dependence on the grid.
Hence, saving energy doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. By making small changes to your daily routine and using your appliances more efficiently, you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
In an exclusive interview with Punch Newspapers, the Chief Executive Officer, Synenet Solar, Sola Ogunniran, said he is conscious of the energy appliances he uses.
He said, “When I got wind of the electricity increase contemplations, I took action. I managed to get some extra units before that price hike came around. It is like having a little inside scoop to avoid those climbing costs. And you know what’s become second nature for me? Ensuring I switch off things that aren’t pulling their weight. It’s almost like a reflex now, not only does it conserve energy, but it’s also my approach to being a bit of a money-saver. I’m all about maximizing every bit of electricity I’ve got, without constantly dishing out for more units.
“It is how I stay ahead of the game, skillfully managing my power usage and preventing those bills from shooting through the roof.”
In the same vein, a legal practitioner, Adedapo Adewuyi, said he employs a strategy to effectively control his appliances and optimize his expenses.
He elucidated that he achieves this by judiciously trimming surplus appliances, a measure aimed at capitalising on cost efficiency.
He said, “A key factor contributing to my success in this endeavor is my limited presence at home. Primarily utilising electricity during my post-work evening hours has proven to be instrumental in restraining unnecessary consumption. I have developed a distinctive approach to managing my household appliances. In a bid to streamline my expenses, I have taken deliberate steps to reduce excess devices and simplify my energy consumption strategy. Given my demanding professional commitments that often keep me away from home for extended periods, I realised the need to optimise my energy usage efficiently.”
“My methodology revolves around a focused utilisation of electricity during specific times of the day. Since I’m usually away due to work, I have structured my energy consumption primarily during the evenings when I return home. This deliberate concentration of energy usage allows me to effectively avoid unnecessary expenditures that might arise from leaving devices running continuously.”
According to Adewuyi, this practice has proven to be a pivotal approach in curbing excessive electricity consumption and promoting a more economical lifestyle.
“By aligning my energy usage with my presence at home, I’ve managed to significantly reduce wastage and unnecessary costs. This strategy not only benefits my personal finances but also contributes to a more sustainable way of living.”
In a world where energy efficiency is gaining increasing importance, Adewuyi’s unique methodology stands as a testament to the creative ways individuals can make a difference in their own lives and in the larger context of environmental conservation.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Caladium Consulting, Mathias Gboyega, said the electricity supply being generated by the power generation company was not enough.
He said, “The prevailing scenario in Nigeria revolves around the careful allocation of power resources, leading to frequent episodes of electricity shortages, a sharp departure from the uninterrupted power provision in more developed nations. At the present time, approximately 30 – 40 percent of households in Nigeria have managed to secure prepaid meters. Unfortunately, the current state of affairs in the nation is characterised by inconsistent power availability, with intermittent interruptions and cost-cutting measures in effect.
“Moreover, the utilisation of alternative energy sources such as solar panels and inverters holds promise, although these alternatives remain financially out of reach for the average individual. To comprehensively tackle this issue, it is imperative for the government to prioritise bolstering the capacity of power generation companies.
This amplification in capacity would consequently empower distribution companies to adequately cater to the electricity needs of the populace. Simultaneously, advocating for the widespread adoption of prepaid meters would herald a shift towards a system wherein individuals are accountable for remunerating based on their actual consumption.”