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Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Happenings in Power | 3 comments

Saving Energy, Saving Cost I

Saving Energy, Saving Cost I

In ‘Now That Power is Privatised’, we explained why privatization will lead to an increase in tariff. It is the responsibility of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to make sure the private investors don’t chop our money like MTN dem first did.

The distribution company [DisCo] should bill you by monitoring your consumption through metering. Sadly, a large number of consumers are not metered and meters are not even read in many cases. The new DisCos have been mandated to provide meters to all consumers by NERC so as to bill them fairly and appropriately. Hence, we need to prepare for higher tariffs and well-metered electricity.

What little things can we do to avoid heavy bills?

Understanding Electric Power

Electrical Power is measured in Watts. Electrical appliances are rated in Watts.

Some appliances use thousands of watts, hence conversion is needed.
1,000 Watts = 1 Kilo-Watt (kW)

DisCos charge consumers for energy usage. This energy is a factor of the number of hours you run your watts.

Electrical energy = Power x Time (kWh).

If you have an electric iron rated 1,100W and you use it to iron for 2 hours. Your energy consumption would be: 1100W x 2 hours = 1.1 kW x 2h = 2.2 kWh

Let’s assume you replace that iron with another rated 1,000W and you use it for 2 hours and that your distribution company charges N13 per kWh your bill would be:

Rating (kW)
Running hours
Consumption (kWh)
Tariff (Naira/kWh)
Bill (Naira)
First iron1.122.21328.6
Second iron1.022.01326

Congratulations, you just saved 2 naira, 60 kobo. This might seem small, but when tariffs are increased and you add up savings on all your other appliances over the year, the savings will be significant.

From the example above, it becomes clear that you can reduce energy consumption through:

1         the power rating: when you install efficient power appliances, for example, using a 15W energy saving bulb instead of a 60W incandescent bulb, it means you are saving in Watts.

2         running hours: when that bulb runs for 3 hours in a day instead of 24 hours, you are saving in hours.

Energy Saving

Understanding Your Electricity Bill

A DisCo electricity bill has the following components:

Previous readingthe energy reading, in kWh, of your meter in the previous month
Current readingthe energy reading, in kWh, of your meter in the present month
Tariff the cost of energy, in Naira/kWh
Energy chargeyour monthly consumption
= [current reading - previous reading] X tariff.
Fixed chargescharges associated with producing electricity and making it readily available. Regulated by NERC.
Arrearsthe amount you owe the distribution company as a result of not paying your previous bills fully.
VATValue added Tax, usually 5% of your bill
Billthis is your present bill for the month
= energy charge + fixed charge + VAT + arrears

Visit to see the various tariffs for each distribution company.


Carry out an energy audit of your home for one week. Get the rating of all appliances in all the rooms in your house and monitor the number of hours they run daily. Tabulate your results as below.

Rating (kW) *
Running hours (h)
Consumption (kWh)

Using a tariff of N13/kWh, calculate your electricity bill for the week.

* – Don’t forget to convert to kW by dividing by 1,000.

The goal of energy saving in present-day Nigeria is saving money but reducing waste and environmental pollution are excellent byproducts.


  1. Precise! Couldnt be more explanatory.

  2. I think it’s clear-cut…I started enjoying it when you did the calculations especially. Please clarify whether we should always go for ‘less-watted’ appliances in order to save cost.

    Lovely piece.

  3. You don’t always have to go for appliances with less wattage, as would be seen in the part 2 of this article. Stay tuned

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