Electricity tariff increase ill-timed, counterproductive –NUEE

By Angela James,

National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE

 

The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has said that the recent electricity tariff increase (which is about fourth since 2013) is ill-timed; counterproductive and one capable of inflicting more hardship on Nigerians amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In a statement signed by the Union’s General Secretary, Joe Ajaero and made available to pressmen in Benin, the Union stressed that in other climes; tariff holidays have been granted citizens with a view to cushioning the effects of the pandemic.

 

“Since the privatization of Nigeria’s power sector on November 1, 2013, the total available power for consumption has hovered between 3,000MW – 4,500MW which remains a child’s play to the country’s power need, hence the country is one of the Nations that is suffering from chronic power poverty.

 

Against the Union’s position, it is unheard of that the process of privatization could be contemplated and implemented without properly metering electricity consumers Nationwide. How would the seller of any commodity not have a proper measuring device to measure its product?”

 

The Union while pointing out that the National Assembly in March 2020 intervened with the postponement of this scheduled tariff increase till the year 2021 described as unfortunate the speed with which the tariff was increased and implemented amidst poor service delivery, lack of consultation with consumers/stakeholders, lack of substantial metering of consumers, poor remuneration package for workers in the sector among others.

 

“The tariff review does not go with a commensurate increase in salary or adjustment as the previous increase has failed to address this anomaly; tariff increase does not guarantee salary increases of workers or efficient service delivery.

 

The current increase in electricity tariff cannot be christened a cost-reflective one; as Nigerians have been compelled to pay more for power not consumed via the estimated billing system. Operators should be looking at a service reflective tariff which will be a direct reflection of the number of hours power is supplied to the consumer 24/7.”

 

The Union observed that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, appears to have turned against Nigerians as players in the industry violate the rules at will also suspect that regulatory frame-work may have been hijacked.

 

They called on all operators, regulatory bodies and agencies within Nigeria Electricity supply industry in compliance with the President’s directive and other existing frame-work to immediately meter all consumers and comply with the rules of engagement before contemplating any review in tariff; a review that must be with a human face, reflecting the economic realities of the nation and its negative consequences on the masses and working people of Nigeria.

 

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