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Electricity tariff hike: Power Minister, Adelabu apologises to Nigerians over AC, freezer remarks

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, says his admonition to Nigerians to turn off their energy consuming home appliances wasn’t intended as an insult.

Adelabu had last week, while addressing journalists at the ministerial press briefing a week ago, chastised Nigerians for not being energy conscious and, saying they needed to inculcate norms of power consumption management.

He had said, “A lot of people will come back from work, they want to have dinner, or they want to see their colleagues down the road, they switch on the AC for the room to be cooling before they come back.

“Some people will be going to work in the morning, a freezer that you left on for days, they will still leave it on when all the items in the freezer are frozen and 5, 6, 8 hours of their absence will not make it to defreeze, they will still leave it to be consuming power just because we are not paying enough.

“We have all been overseas before; we know how conscious the power consumers are about electricity consumption.”

Appearing on Thursday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, the minister apologised for the remarks which drew widespread condemnation.

He explained that it was an innocuous advice on how to manage energy consumption, saying it was meant to be a joke.

“It was never intended to insult the sensibility of Nigerians. Sincerely, if you watch that video very well, i never said people should switch off their freezers,” he said.

“It was actually an innocent advice with regards to energy consumption management which we believe will go a long way in reducing people’s energy bills.

“And that advice was actually directed to those we believe because of the recent increase in tariff that start enjoying 20 to 22 hours of power supply. What I said was that the fact that the electricity tariff for Band A, which is 15 percent of electricity consumers, would increase by over 200 percent does not necessarily translate to 200 percent of their electricity bills if power is managed in terms of consumption.

“But the example of the freezer, well, may not have gone down well with majority of Nigerians and I’ll say oh, sorry about that. It was never my intention to insult anybody.

“It was just out of my passion and eagerness to see that we make a change in the sector which has suffered a lot of set back for some years… in fact, the example I gave there were the air conditioners.

“A lot of people leave them on while they’re still not in the room. Sincerely, it was passed across jokingly. It was just a comical illustration and never intended to insult anybody. So, to Nigerians who felt offended by the statement I say sorry, forgive us. This is our country.”

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