Again, electricity consumers reject proposed tariff increase

* Quality of Service still poor, increase in tariffs unjustifiable ─Stakeholders

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Displeased with the recent Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) proposal to raise electricity charges with effect from April 1, a cross-section of electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, FCT, have rejected the proposed increase in electricity tariffs in the country.

Agency report indicates that the consumers disclosed their stand Wednesday at a public hearing on the application which Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) presented to NERC for electricity tariff review.

The theme of the public hearing is: “Investment Toward Improvement of Power Supply and Quality Service in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry’’.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Okpe Sunday, Executive Secretary, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), was quoted to have said that considering tariff increase at this point would be “a disservice to citizens”.

According to Mr. Okpa, Nigerians are struggling to pay for the electricity they currently consume, noting that the proposed increase in tariffs would not be the best.

“Considering the fact that we have other challenges, how are we going to accommodate the increase in tariffs.

“That means there will be more unemployment in Nigeria, once we cannot pay for electricity consumed, companies will close down.

“I like NERC to reconsider this position. There is a way you can work this out and DisCos will still remain in business,” he said.

In his remark on the occasion, Mr. Princewill Okorie, National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis, said the gathering was quite inadequate as AEDC served the North-Central Nigeria.

The real people using electricity were not in attendance here, Mr. Okorie stated.

He said that the increase in tariff was not justified as the quality of service was poor.

According to him, the entire electricity sector needs to be rejigged, adding that there is a need for a governance system.

Okorie, nonetheless, urged NERC to work with civil society organisations (CSOs) that are into consumer advocacy to get adequate information and monitor what the DisCos are doing.

In his contribution at the hearing, Mr. Uket Obonga, National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network (NECAN), said that NERC could not be talking of tariff increase without knowing the number of people connected to the electricity supply.

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