We all know it. One of the greatest problems confronting Nigeria is the inadequacy of public electricity power supply. The inefficiency of this government agency is linked to the biggest singular problem holding us back from attaining our pride of place in the committee of nations – CORRUPTION. But that is a story for another day!
As a techie, we should perpetually be on the look-out for how to use technology to circumvent problems confronting us. What alternatives exist to mitigate the effects of our self-imposed nationwide darkness?.
The first thing I did to confront our perpetual darkness was ensure I get a netbook and a smartphone that both have good battery life. In the case of the netbook, it can do about seven hours on a single full charge. This ensures that I can work during the major part of the day without worrying about PHCN and their inefficiencies.
My smartphone is a tool I cannot afford to do without. So, the good battery life saves me from running out of power unexpectedly. It will usually carry me through the whole day too as long as I am parsimonious (frugal, in English) as regards the use to which I put it. It is also wise to have a spare battery for your smartphone, unless you have an iPhone or a Nokia N* that do not support frivolous battery swapping!
A lot of people in the IT world own UPSes (Uninterruptible Power Systems). This often comes in handy in charging your phone, temporarily powering your laptop , blending your pepper (connect your blender), as well as powering a fluorescent tube. The higher the power of that UPS, the longer it can serve before discharging. An inverter setup may be a better, but more expensive, alternative.
I have a small-sized OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV. Specifically for my use when there is a cut in public power supply. This TV It is power efficient. By connecting it to a high-power UPS, I am able to enjoy over one hour of interrupted viewing pleasure, when PHCN strikes.
An often overlooked alternative power source is the car cigarette lighter. With the right adapter, you can also power your netbook / laptop and charge your phone too. There is a lot that a 12-voltage power source can do.
You can buy a portable car television/radio/dvd player. That way, when PHCN does their bit, you can still keep in touch with news and information, as well as get entertained with sonorous music.
By making use of these alternatives, you are reducing your carbon footprint (by not putting on your generator), you reduce noise pollution, and most importantly, you save yourself some fuel (and generator maintenance) costs.
A hilarious but interesting solution mentioned by a car dealer friend to having a good, dreamless nights’ rest is this; He switches on the engine of his Mitsubishi car, winds up the windows, puts on the car-airconditioner, reclines the seat and goes to sleep! Can you beat that? The car has a V6 engine, the seats are comfortable, and the engine hardly makes any noise as it idles! And the 12-speaker system of the car ensures that mellifluous music fills the car. Great idea if your Landlord ever ejects you for failing to pay your house rent!
What about you? What strategies do you adopt to circumvent the problem of interminable power cuts? That is, apart from putting on that noisy generator and killing your neighbours gradually with noise and noxious fumes?