Universities won't be able to Pay Electricity bills in 2021 - UNILAG VC

Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has expressed fears that universities will not be able to afford electricity bill next year.

Ogundipe spoke on Monday in Lagos while addressing reporters on the status of the Energising Education Programme (EEP) which is meant to provide the institution with constant power supply through a hybrid solar power plant.

The vice chancellor said the university’s electricity bill had increased to N62 million for one month while students were not on campus due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.

He feared that when students resume, the bill could be as high as N90 million, which he said no university could afford.

“The universities in Nigeria are likely to have problem from 2021. The problem is that before the lockdown, in March, 2020, when you look at our electricity bill, it was around N61 million/ N62 million. During the lockdown, the bill went to about N30 million plus.

“The last bill that I signed – N62 million – and that is without students being on ground. It means that when the students come back, we are going to be paying around N90 million every month. It is going to be a big problem for the universities.

“Not only the University of Lagos. I know of a university that, during the lockdown, they were paying about N25 million. At the last count, it was around N45 million.

“So, when the students return to campus, it means that the bill will be on the high side and it will be very difficult for universities to pick up that type of bill. Like I said, N62 million we paid last time.  And if we don’t pay on time they disconnect us.

“We paid about N45 million to buy diesel, which we used for about three or four months without students. So, you can see the future problem that we have in the area of power supply in the university.”

Ogundipe said the completion of the EEP would enable the university to spend less on power supply, adding that it was only the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which is overseeing the project in the nine pioneer universities, that could answer why it had not been completed.

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