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.

When Daily Trust Saturday went round business areas in the metropolis, it gathered that frozen food vendors, tailors, communication centres 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.”

Our business is booming – Technicians

The mechanics who convert the generators to the gas-powered system told our correspondent that business is booming as they are currently earning more than what they made before.

Anas Yusuf Tukur, a mechanic who has so far converted more than 100 fuel-powered generators to gas, said the system had brought him customers, even outside Kano, adding that it is safer if used with care.

He explained that there are two ways of converting generators from petrol to gas usage. One is to change the petrol carburetor to oxygen, while the second process is to connect directly without using the carburetor, which he said was more dangerous.

“This process is not new; it has been there for the past 10 years. It just suddenly became rampant as a result of fuel subsidy removal. The process is simple; you just need a carburetor, a tube and cylinder. After changing the carburetor, you use a long tube and connect with the cylinder. You would make sure that a long tube is used to separate the carburetor from the cylinder.

“There is no risk in doing this as long as you use the carburetor. It is even safer compared to the petrol because in this process, the cylinder is even cooler and will never get hot, unlike when it is used for cooking. The only problem is connecting it directly without changing the carburetor. That one is dangerous because the old carburetor cannot put off the gas when the engine is off, which might cause a problem.

“Because carburetor is now costly and scarce, people are connecting directly. It was initially sold at N4, 000, but because the demand is high, they are now selling it for N25,000 and it is scarce. Yes, the direct process works, but it is dangerous. The generator may go off without you knowing and the gas will not stop. This can lead to fire outbreak,” he explained.

Another mechanic, Mukhtar Sauna, said they charged N3,000 or more for construction, and in a day, they can get up to 20 customers.

“I don’t know the number of people I have done this construction for so far. Honestly, we are getting money because people come every day. With fuel subsidy removal, people cannot bear the expenses of running generators with fuel. But with the conversion, businesses are now making more profit and in the easiest way,” he said.

On safety he said, “If people could keep their gas cylinders in their kitchens and cook with open fire all these years, is it the one that does not involve open fire and is even well connected that would now cause an explosion? Since this will reduce the number of people buying petrol, you can as well guess where the rumours and negative expert opinions on its safety are coming from.”

Yetunde Temileyi, a potential user of gasoline-powered generators in Lagos, says petrol generators offer a number of advantages in Nigeria, including reliable power, cost savings and lower emissions compared to generators powered by diesel.

“However, it is important to recognize and address the risks involved, including safety hazards and environmental impacts. Proper installation, maintenance, and compliance with safety procedures are key to minimizing these risks. In addition, investing in renewable energy sources and improving gas infrastructure can help ensure a sustainable energy future for Nigeria, balancing the interests of gas producers with a focus on responding to the environment”, she noted.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has advised residents to hire only qualified technicians to convert gasoline generators into liquefied petroleum gas generators in their homes and offices.

According to a statement from the Lagos State Safety Commission, recent developments regarding the removal of the petrol subsidy, which led to an increase in the price of petrol pumps, have increased the conversion rate of gasoline generators to diesel generators. LPG power generation in the state.

Speaking about this development, the CEO of Potech Limited, an IT and marketing firm, Philip Obin, said that gasoline generators, compared to alternatives such as diesel generators, are often economical. More cost-effective in terms of fuel consumption.

He noted that natural gas, which is the main fuel source for these generators, is often cheaper than diesel. “This affordability factor makes gas generators an attractive option for small businesses and individuals.”

When it comes to safety, Obin says gas-powered generators are very safe. “For example, if the pipeline is broken, gas leaks and there is a fire nearby, the fire will burn from the pipe, but there will be no explosion. Gas easily overflows into the room and when ignited will explode, but because the tank and generator are located outside, it is more difficult to explode because there is enough ventilation to disperse the leaked gas. I’ve been running my gas generators since last August and have sold over 10,000 and never had anyone come to report an explosion or fire to me,” he said.

Similarly, Mathew Olusegun, a gas dealer and distributor, say generators offer a number of benefits, including increased reliability and reduced reliance on the unstable national grid.

However, he further explained that they also come with most of the risks, including environmental concerns and security risks.

“One of the main advantages of a gas-powered generator is its ability to provide a stable and reliable power supply. Due to the erratic nature of the national grid in Nigeria, gas-powered generators provide reliable backup during power outages. This is especially important for businesses that need uninterruptible power to operate efficiently,” says Olusegun.

Energy experts speak

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) experts have said the benefits outweigh the harms of using gasoline-powered generators, as diesel and gasoline-powered options are gaining more and more support in the country.

Daily Trust Saturday  previously reported that in Nigeria, where frequent power outs are a nagging challenge, gasoline-powered generators have become a popular solution for individuals, businesses and even organisations, including public offices.

After removing the fuel subsidy, which increased fuel costs per liter by more than 100 per cent, Nigerian creativity was put to the test.

The National Economic Council (NEC) under Bola Tinubu recently announced that it is focusing on natural gas as an alternative fuel as it considers possible fallback options.

Bashir Idris, the chief executive officer of Bash Tech, an analyst and commentator on energy, said that normally, generators use two major sources to operate – petrol and liquefied petroleum gas, but the process of conversion and usage determines its safety. He added that most generators are designed to consume petrol only.

“It depends on how a company designed the generator. Mostly, they are designed to work with petrol. But if you want to change it to gas, you need to do some construction by using a different carburetor,” he said.

“This is not a new thing. But gas is volatile, so it can easily catch fire, unlike petrol. It is more dangerous than petrol. Although it is cheaper, one has to be very careful as it doesn’t withstand heat. If it falls down and leaks, it can easily cause a fire outbreak,” he said.

He advised that people using gas-powered generators should always look after it, adding that gas is not as resistant to heat as petrol. “You cannot use gas for a long period like petrol; it requires intervals,” he said.


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