Consumers to PHEDC: Improve power supply before tariff hike

* Say no developed economy without stable electricity supply

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Joining the ranks of other power consumers in other regions of the country in demanding enhanced electricity supply ahead of the proposed tariff increase, consumers in Cross River State of Nigeria have urged the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to improve its services before jacking up its tariffs.

It was learnt that the consumers made their views known at a public forum the electricity firm organised for clienteles in Calabar, the state capital.

Mr. Offiong Archibong, Executive Secretary, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Cross River State branch, who spoke during the interactive session, said electricity was a major enabler of the nation’s economy but regretted that there was inadequate power supply for industries to thrive.

Archibong said, “MAN members are not satisfied with the PHEDC services. Most times when issues arise and the complaints get to the PHEDC, they fail to address such issues.

“The PHEDC must do the needful and improve their services if they must get us to pay the increase in tariffs.”

Report says a representative of Cross River State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in his contribution, opposed electricity tariff increase at this time.

According to NLC, “it is difficult to get an improved economy without a stable power supply. Where is the accountability of the PHEDC if they keep on collecting money for services they don’t render?

“We strongly demand that the PHEDC jettison the idea of tariff increment as it is unacceptable and will cause untold hardship on citizens.”

A female electricity consumer also said she was dissatisfied with the plan to increase electricity tariffs.

The decision would encourage people to steal power the more and engage in illegal bypassing which would in turn cause more problems to the power firm.

However, Mr. Ernest Edgar, Project Management Officer, who represented the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PHEDC, highlighted some threats the PHEDC currently faces.

These include frequent assault on staff, lack of access to finance for operations and capital investment, vandalism and theft, tampering/damage of electric metering devices, meter by-passing and customers’ unwillingness to pay bills, the Project Management Officer stated.

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