How much electricity does a Nigerian Family really need?

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Posted by on Tuesday March 22, 2016 at 13:19:30:

One of the things many Nigerians would agree to in 2016 is that electricity supply remains a big problem for their government as it has never really been efficient or sufficient since the 1980s and would take something like a miracle to get it working. It is not that Nigeria does not generate a high amount of electricity when compared to many other nations in Africa but by world standards, it's really appalling.

I read a report once where Nigeria was mentioned as being one of the African countries that generates the most electricity. I even read another article where Africa's electricity generation was compared to be about equal to what Belgium, an European country generates. Now that's really humiliating and to think that Africa receives a good amount of sunshine most of the year round, one wonders why many successive governments have not encouraged investment in solar power plants like Germany did.

The fact that Nigeria generates a good amount of electricity by African standards doesn't imply that the electricity generated is actually high if calculated per head based on Nigeria's population. Nigeria may generate more power in total than a neighbouring country like Ghana but Ghana generates more in terms of electrical power per family because Ghana's electricity needs are much less than what Nigeria needs.

As someone who has a long term plan to invest in solar power for my home, one of the things I've been considering is how much power do I really need to power my home. You too can calculate how much power you really need for your family assuming you don't want to rely on the power company and probably want to source for alternative sources of power.

In Nigeria, the amount of electricity people need is expressed in kWh meaning Kilowatt-Hours and 1 kWh means a thousand Watts of power in 1 hr while 5 kWh means 5 thousands Watts of power in 1 hr.

Let's assume you have a TV, fridge and electrical fan that requires about 2000 Watts of power and you use it for 5 hrs a day, it means that you'll need 10000 Watts or 10 KW of power for those 5 hrs and so a 10 kWh supply of electricity would be ok for you for that day. If you use only 10 kWH per day for 30 days in a month, then it means that you'll need 300 kWh of electricity for that month and that costs about N7500 as at today using a tariff of N25 per kWh.

An easy way to calculate the amount of electricity you or your family needs in a month is to read your electricity consumption from your electricity meter. It could be a prepaid or post paid meter and all you need to do is to read how much kWH of electricity that you consume under normal load so as to estimate how much you'd really need per month.

Ideally, one could just take a reading at the beginning of the month and another one at the end of the month if it's the old post paid mechanical electricity meter to find out how much power used but it won't give you the exact amount power one really needs since electricity supply is not regular and so a better way would be to just take readings at shorter intervals(e.g. 1 minute) when there is power supply. When you take the reading for 1 minute and you get a reading like 0.05 kWh, you can estimate your electricity needs per day by simply multiplying the figure by 60*24 hrs.

If you wanted to estimate your electricity need per month, you can then multiply the electricity consumed in 1 minute by 60*24*30 and that gives about 2160 kWh per month.

The electricity needs of a Nigerian family would depend on a lot of things such as how many electrical devices they have, how long they would use it and their location in Nigeria.

Personally, my family uses about 300 kWh of electricity per month and this currently costs us about N7500 but that is not sufficient to satisfy our needs given that we only receive electricity on an average of 6 hrs per day for 30 days in a month. If we were to at least have 24 hrs of electricity, then our bill could go up to N30,000 per month and that would give us about 1200 kWh which I think is ok for the average Nigerian family of today. How much electricity does an average Nigerian family really need? I think at least 1000 kWH worth of it per day but that may not be so quick in coming.

So, if every Nigerian family has at least 1000 kWh of electricity per month, it would really make life easier for them but since electricity generation is not sufficient for all Nigerians who need it, the power company normally does what were call load shedding which basically means rationing of electricity to people and that makes us get at about 4 to 6 hrs of electricity on the average per day.

Now that I know that I need at least 1000 kWh of electricity per month as a Nigerian, I know I could as well invest in a small scale solar power plant as an alternative way to make up for what the power company is unable to do for me. Thank God there are now a growing number of solar power companies in Nigeria and this can help many Nigerians reduce their reliance on hydro powered electric companies which are not efficient.

When a person knows how much electricity he uses and needs, he would be able to know whether to invest in other forms of power such as solar, wind or diesel generators just to be able to meet his power needs.

Re: How much electricity does a Nigerian Family really need? Reply by Dayo on Friday May 13, 2016 at 12:29:17:

I just use a 2.5 kva generator everyday and it chops a lot of fuel. NEPA is cheaper but not reliable.

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