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Universities face disconnection amidst rising energy cost

Nigerian universities are currently experiencing unprecedented crises owing to the rising cost of electricity in the country.

Some of the institutions have been disconnected from the national grid owing to millions of unpaid electricity bills to DISCOS while others who are still connected are currently grappling with huge amounts of debts running into millions of naira.

The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ordered the immediate upward review of electricity tariffs from Wednesday, 3 April.

Band A customers are offered an average daily electricity supply of 20 hours, although many complain they do not get up to that.

NERC had in January said the Nigerian government would pay as much as N1.6 trillion to subsidise electricity in the year 2024.

Unveiling a new electricity tariff plan payable by electricity consumers in the country at the time, the Chairperson of the NERC, Sanusi Garba, said the order states appropriate tariffs that consumers should pay for investors to recover their operating costs.

Universities gasp for breath under rising energy costs

The College of Medicine, University of Lagos is currently lamenting its migration to Band A which has increased energy costs.

A circular by the institution which was sighted by our correspondent in Abuja noted that the college’s power supply has been cut off.

“This is to inform members of staff and students of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos about the receipt of a humongous bill and unsolicited migration of the College to Band A by Eko Electric Distribution Company (EKEDC) amounting to N252,631,305.52K (Two hundred and fifty-two million, six hundred and thirty-one thousand, three hundred and five naira and fifty-two kobo only) VAT inclusive being electric bill for June 2024.

“Management registered its displeasure by conveying an emergency meeting with the EKEDC Team to have a round table discussion and request for an immediate migration to Band B. Unfortunately, after making substantial payment, a disconnection notice was sent and we were cut off from the power supply on Friday, 25th June 2024,” the circular read.

Similarly, the Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State, has been thrown into darkness, following the disconnection of the institution’s power supply by the Kano Electricity Distribution Company.

KEDCO disconnected the university about a week ago over its inability to settle its outstanding accumulated bill of over N248 million, a situation that has currently paralysed the institution’s academic programmes.

Narrating the higher institution’s ordeal to newsmen on Monday, the Dean of Students’ Affairs of the university, Prof. Abdulkadir Dambazau, said efforts to convince KEDCO to reconnect the institution back to the national grid fell on deaf ears, as the company insisted on the settlement of the entire bill.

Such efforts, Dambazau said, included the payment of N20 million, which, according to him, was the university’s enhanced monthly subvention from the state government.

Similarly, the Jos Electricity Distribution Company disconnected the University of Jos from the national grid over debts amounting to N126M.

Also, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami in an interview with one of our correspondents over the weekend noted that the school’s electricity was disconnected over N300M unpaid electricity debt.

Salami, who doubles as the Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, also revealed that the new rate announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission escalated UNIBEN’s monthly electricity bill from N80m to N280m.

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