Before the advent of pre-paid meters, the energy billing system was rife with overestimated bills, inconsistencies in the billing method. The average Nigerian saw electricity bills as a way to exploit them.
With privatization, however, came a user-friendly method of energy billing – the pre-paid meter.
Some advantages of the pre-paid metering system include billing accuracy, ability to budget better, ease of payment, no reconnection or disconnection fees, and transparency in the whole process.
Also, changes in consumer behavior such as persuading consumers to switch off appliances when not in use, linking consumption directly to its cost, and feeding the meter with up-to-date cost information are efficient ways to cope with high energy tariffs.
Though these suggested consumer attitudinal changes cut across the usage of all energy sources, the question as to which of the alternate energy sources is the best way to cope with PHCN’s higher energy tariff begs to be answered.
Is it the petrol generator (that is subject to wear and tear resulting from frequent use, due to the fluctuating and erratic power supply from the national grid?) The more durable diesel generators which aren’t pocket-friendly due to the high cost of diesel or the solar power system which when compared to other energy sources is more pocket-friendly, longer-lasting, and more reliable?
The answer lies in an examination of how solar energy systems work.
In a nutshell, sunlight activates the panels, which are usually placed on the roof for maximal exposure to sunlight. The cells within the panels produce electrical current, the energy is converted and is used to power homes and workplaces. Also, there is a net meter that measures the usage and consumption of power.
So, is purchasing a Solar energy system a way of coping with higher energy tariffs?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes!
Firstly, once installed, the average life span of a solar energy system is 25- 30 years, after which the optimal capacity as recommended by the manufacturer declines by only 10%.
Furthermore, the excellent quality of sunlight in Nigeria ensures that the solar energy system absorbs and stores sufficient energy.
Again the batteries are replaced every 5-15 years, though the initial cost of installation is higher than other energy sources, a solar energy system can pay for itself in about three years.
Another key feature is the decreasing cost of production, purchase, and installation of solar energy systems due to technological advancements. This has made renewable energy experts predict that solar will be the cheapest energy source by 2030 in major world economies.
So when next you think of a way to cope with the rising tariff from PHCN or the increasing cost of fuel for your petrol or diesel generator, think of purchasing a Solar energy system because this is a smart and intelligent way to avoid and cope with the rising tariffs of other energy sources.