How Does Electricity Work in Nigeria? 

by | Guides

May 5, 2022

Truth be told, like many African countries, Nigeria has an electricity problem. Even though the power sector has been privatized, not enough electricity is generated to power the entire country steadily. 

This means that you might not have access to electricity around the clock, depending on where you are based. You’ll be a few hours short on some days. 


Billing System

In Nigeria, you have to pay for the power you consume. And the payment isn’t taken out from your salary directly, so you’ll have to go out there, to the office of the power service provider, and pay. There are two billing systems in Nigeria. And they include:

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Prepaid System

This system relies on a meter called the ‘prepaid meter.’ It is a relatively new payment system and has not been on for as long as the regular ‘postpaid system.’ 

Meters are devices used to monitor the rate of electricity consumption. The prepaid meter is a digital meter. It works like a SIM card in many ways. When you have the prepaid meter installed at your home, you will be expected to recharge before being able to use electricity. ‘Prepaid’, as the name suggests. You have to pay before use. And when your bill is exhausted, you stop having light. 

Post Paid System

This system relies on the postpaid meter, an analogue device. This system is much older than the prepaid system and has been functioning in Nigeria since NEPA. Long before privatization. 

As the name implies, you pay for the power you consume after you have consumed it. On a rolling basis. Monthly. Whenever you don’t pay, your light is disconnected. Something Nigerians describe as ‘cutting your light.’ 

This disconnection doesn’t happen automatically, like with the prepaid meter. It happens manually. Some power officials come around and disconnect you from the main electricity source. 

Differences between Prepaid and Post Paid Systems:

  • The prepaid system is economical. You can choose to switch the meter off when you aren’t using the electricity. 
  • The postpaid meter, on the other hand, is not as economical. You cannot switch the meter off. It keeps reading and reading. 
  • With the prepaid system, your light is not ‘cut’ manually. Once your bill expires, the meter trips off on its own and stops supplying current. 
  • With the postpaid meter, your light is cut manually. 

How Much is the electricity bill

Electricity bill depends, majorly, on how much electricity you consume. It isn’t fixed. 

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How to Pay for Electricity

How you pay for electricity in Nigeria depends on the billing system you are using. With the postpaid meter, payment is made online using a third-party system like Quickteller. All you need is your money, internet-connected device, and meter number. 

Navigate through Quickteller. Search for bill payment options. Click on the electricity bill, and pay.

Payment works the same way for the postpaid meter. However, a lot of Nigerians like to go to the electricity office to make payments at the power office.

How can I save money on my Electricity Bill?

The trick is to use fewer appliances. Turn off any heavy appliances you are not using at the moment.

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What to Do if My Light is Cut

This is easy. Visit your power holding company, pay the required bill and an additional disconnection fee, and your light will be restored.  

Photo by Fré Sonneveld on Unsplash

By Ubee Johnson

Ubong Johnson (Ubee) is a medical student and freelance writer. He writes articles that cover everything from Lagos city guide to lifestyle.

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