While the trend may not be new in other parts of the country, the removal of fuel subsidy, which saw petrol pump price rise from N194 to N540, has seen frozen food vendors, tailors and other business owners who usually power their generators to augment poor electricity supply from the national grid convert their generators despite suggestions from experts that there might be safety issues.
While some are using it in their business places to save cost, others are now using it in their houses as it is said to be cheaper and more economical than petrol.
It is said that an interested generator owner would change from a petrol-propelled carburetor to oxygen. It requires only a refilled gas cylinder and tube to complete the process.
Reporterswent round business areas in the metropolis, it gathered that frozen food vendors, tailors, communication centers and people that supply power to markets using generators are the top beneficiaries. It was also gathered that on a daily basis, households have been switching to the system in large numbers.
A frozen food shop owner in Yankaba market, Sunusi Dan Malam, told our correspondent that before fuel subsidy removal, he was fuelling two generators of over 12 litres every day with about N3,000, but with subsidy removal, he would run at a loss if he must buy fuel for his business to thrive as he would be required to spend not less than N10,000 in a day. He said the situation forced him to accept gas as an alternative.
Ninety per cent of what we are using is light and it has become a problem. This has led to so many losses, such that we have to suspend some of our products like full chicken and wings.
“The situation has affected us seriously because it is either we buy fuel or lose our goods. My friend later told me about the new process of using a gas cylinder. That’s what I am using now.
“I just bought the cylinder and a new carburetor and I am now enjoying the system. After subsidy removal I was spending N10,000 on petrol per day and N70,000 in a week, but now, I am using 12kg of cooking gas in seven days and it is not up to N10,000 (it currently sells at N7,500 in Kano). So, I am saving over 60 per cent.”
According to him, with the new system his business is safe and he connects all electrical appliances including four deep freezers that are presently in his shop.
Another business owner, Jamilu Sulaiman, who operates the same business, said over 70 per cent of the people in their market now uses the system and they are all appreciating it.
He, however, said that while embracing the trend, they were cautious of the dangers that may be associated with it. He added that mechanics are always guiding them on how to use it to avoid the dangers.
“Sunusi is the first person to use the system because we were afraid of the dangers associated with cooking gas. Later, we all followed suit. There is risk in using cooking gas, but not in this regard. In this case, it is even safer. The cylinder is kept far away from the generator, and it has never given us any problem,” he said.
Similarly, other businesses are joining the trend as it is said to be the most affordable.
A business owner, Abdullahi Umar, who supplies electricity with his generator to over 50 shops in a GSM market, said the process had also made his business easier and paved the way for better services to his customers.
He said his 8,000-watt generator consumed N9,000 worth of fuel every day, which most times did not last till closing time of 8pm.
“Now, I only use 3kg of gas every day and it suffices for the day. One kilogram of gas is N750 and I buy three, which is N2,250 in a day. But I have over 500 shops that I supply light to. Each of them pays N100, which is over N50,000 in a day. Although there are other expenses, I am getting more profit than before the subsidy was removed,” he said.
Since he started using the gas-powered generator over 20 days ago, he has never encountered any fault or problem with the engine or cylinder, he added.
Residents are also said to have switched to gas-powered generators for domestic use.
A resident of the Yankaba area of Nasarawa Local Government Area, Habibu Shuaibu said, “We now have the gas-powered generator and 1kg of gas can last for six hours, compared with four litres of fuel, which last the same number of hours. A kg of gas is N750 while four litres of fuel is N2,160. So, you can see the difference.”