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How to save energy and reduce costs in Nigeria

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By Abraham Adekunle

Amidst hiked tariffs, here are ways to save energy usage at home.

Presently in Nigeria, the Federal Government in collaboration with the electricity distribution companies is trying to fix every apartment in every house in every area in the country with a prepaid meter so that they do not have to worry about the estimated billing system. This previous system worked on estimated usage within an area divided by the number of apartments connected to the grid. The results were untasteful in many households as they received what is known as “crazy bills.”

With the current prepaid meter, the problem that arises is not with estimation but with the fact that every usage in the home counts towards electricity cost in the home. In a world where electricity distribution companies are continuously hiking tariffs and consumers have to pay high costs, saving energy at home has become more important than ever before. An extra bulb turned on in an empty room and a running fan in another unoccupied room culminate to the cost of electricity bill in the end. Some of the ways to save money on electricity are as follows.

Turning off lights and disconnecting energy-draining gadgets.

One of the ways to save energy cost is by turning off the lights when nobody is in a room. A three-bedroom apartment, for instance, has more than five rooms, including bathrooms and the kitchen. All of these places have at least one bulb each. In the sitting room, there may be as many as four bulbs especially if aesthetics is of the essence. While this may be seen as insignificant, an additional bulb in a home adds to the cost of electricity. So, it is important to cultivate a conscious habit of turning off lights. Some people even turn off all lights during the day except when necessary.

Most electronic appliances drain a significant amount of light when they are not switched off. Examples are laptop chargers and television sets. It is expected that homes that leave a TV set on throughout the night every day of the week will consume more light than others who do not. So, one of the simplest ways to save energy is by turning off appliances when not in use. Leaving electronics plugged in when not in use is one of the most common ways that electricity is wasted. This is known as standby power or vampire power, and it can account for up to 10 percent of your bill.

Energy-efficient lighting and appliances are needed.

Many appliances in Nigeria are built to consume the maximum power that they can. A relatable example is the “yellow” bulb that is the first set of bulbs that the general Nigerian people were familiar with. The device is so powerful that its effect is usually felt in the fluctuation of voltage in other bulbs or gadgets. When it is plugged into a socket whose power source is a small generator, known as “I better pass my neighbor,” the rhythm of the sound the generator makes corresponds to how intense the effect the bulb has on it. In addition to consuming a more-than-necessary amount of power, there is also the risk of causing a high-voltage scenario and spoiling other gadgets. So, when shopping for appliances, look for those with a power-efficient rating, such as A+++ or A++.

These appliances use less electricity and can save you a lot in electricity costs. For example, a dishwasher with a delayed start function can be programmed to run during off-peak hours when energy rates are lower. Appliances with smart technology can also automatically adjust their settings to optimize usage and reduce waste. Switching to power-efficient lighting can also save you money on your bills. LED light bulbs, for example, use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent ones. They also last longer, so you won’t have to replace them as often. Installing motion sensors or timers can ensure that lights are only on when they are needed.

Opt for the use of fans instead of air conditioners.

Air conditioners (AC) have been known to consume a lot of energy. People love the comfort of having an AC in the home. However, air conditioners do not have to be turned on all the time. Instead of using an AC, you can have ceiling or standing fans complement your AC in your sitting rooms and bedrooms. When the weather is not too hot, you can simply use the fans intermittently with the AC. In conclusion, saving power does not have to be difficult or expensive, but making small changes can save a whole lot.

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