High electricity charges: Install solar power in hospitals, varsities, Reps tell FG

By Nudoiba Ojen

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to save lives by providing alternative power to teaching hospitals, medical centres and universities in the country, owing to the epileptic power supply across the country.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion on urgent public importance moved by the member representing Ede North/Ede South/ Egbedero Federal Constituency, Osun State, Mr Bamidele Salam during Tuesday’s plenary.

It is titled, “Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Federal Government to devise means to support teaching hospitals, medical centres and universities with mini solar grids and other alternative power sources to prevent loss of lives and disruptions in their services”.

Salam argued that on April 3, 2024, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission commenced the implementation of new electricity tariff for Band A customers and raised the tariff from N68 per kilowatt-hour to N225/kWh.”

Recall that the House called on the NERC to suspend forthwith the implementation of the new electricity tariff nationwide but the commission only made a downward review of the tariff from 225/kWh to 206.8/kWh.

Bamidele said, “Teaching hospitals, medical centres and universities are all in Band A due to the peculiar need to constantly power medical equipment, undertake the procedure, among others that may be required to keep patients alive and deliver critical services.

“The House is worried that this increment is huge and unaffordable by these tertiary health institutions in Nigeria, hence the need to provide an affordable and sustainable alternative.

“According to an investigation, the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (pays N75m monthly, which translates to N2.5m per day; the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (operated by Bayero University, Kano) pays N119m per month (approximately N4 million daily).

“Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital pays N50m monthly (N1.66m each day), Jos University Teaching Hospital pays N31m or N1.03m daily, and University of Nigeria, Nsukka Teaching Hospital parts with N50m monthly, or N1.66m daily.”

In the case of the University of Ibadan, the lawmaker noted that before the new tariff regime, “It was indebted to the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to the tune of N495m and had its power disconnected.”

Salam, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party further added that only recently, the Secretary to the Committee of Vice Chancellors of the Nigerian Universities, Prof Yakubu Ochefu “Warned that if the Federal Government refuses to act on the challenges posed by the new electricity tariff, the federal universities might collapse soon as high overhead cost will cripple their operations.”

This is just as he said that on Thursday, July 4, 2024, “The University of Benin shut down academic activities indefinitely over a prolonged protest by students occasioned by the school’s inability to supply electricity.

If urgent measures are not put in place to remove the burden of the new electricity tariff on teaching hospitals, medical centres and universities in Nigeria, Salam said the entire health and education sectors may collapse thus endangering the lives of Nigerians.

Following the adoption of the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to devise means to support teaching hospitals, medical centres and universities with mini solar grids given huge and unaffordable electricity bills occasioned by new electricity tariff.

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