Lizzie Williams
South Africa ZA
Jul 12, 2014 July 12, 2014

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Category: Travel Disaster Worth Sharing

The electricity supply in Nigeria is perilously overloaded and especially hazardous, so it should be common sense to be very wary of touching any electrical socket or appliance.

NEPA (Nigeria Electric Power Authority) is supposed to supply Nigeria with electricity. The acronym is dubbed ‘Never Expect Power Always’, and when NEPA tried to rebrand some years ago to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), it became ‘Problem Has Changed Name’.

There’s good reason for the digs; the power routinely goes off, if it comes on at all, and almost every building has a diesel generator that kicks in as soon as NEPA fails. As such, the advice is always to stay away from electrical sockets so as not to overload or trip the power. However I forgot this advice and plugged a charger in; my hotel immediately plunged into darkness, the sound of the generator choked noisily to a stop, and there was much loud complaining from other distressed guests.

The generator couldn’t be fixed and the power never came back on that evening. But the worse was I had considerably upset the hotel’s staff who were watching a critical football match in which their (and Nigeria’s) beloved Manchester United were 1-0 down.