Worried by incessant increase in electricity tariff in the country, civil society organizations and the organised labour have vowed to engage the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over a planned 61 per cent hike.
Expressing concerns at the incessant increase in electricity tariffs, Toluwani Adebiyi, who led the coalition of civil society organisations under the auspices of Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) to a protest rally in Lagos, argued that the increment is totally unaffordable considering the biting economic hardship assailing the already impoverished masses.
The NERC had last October announced plans to increase electricity by 61.5 percent to bridge the funding gaps in the sector and was only awaiting final approval from the federal government.
Addressing newsmen during the rally, Adebiyi recalled that the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) were yet to honour the agreements it signed with the Federal Government in November 2013, to issue prepaid metres to all Nigeria consumers within 18 months.
“It will amount to a rude disrespect to the rule of law to talk of increment now when the matter that touches so much on tariff increment is still pending in court”, he stated.
Adebiyi observed that it has been incessant power tariff increments without commensurate improvement, saying Nigerians have been paying for gross darkness with no value in return for the exorbitant bill paid by consumers.
He urged the NERC to optimise their generating capacity by ensuring that the electricity generating companies (GENCOs) generate enough power for the DISCOs.
Besides, he advised the federal government to revoke the license of private companies and take over the sector if those private companies cannot stabilise and improve power in Nigeria after four years of privatisation.
“The Nigeria power sector for long has been taking undue advantage of and exploiting Nigerian electricity consumers. Until the labour group and civil society organisations decided to take up and challenge their inordinate trade practices. DISCOs cannot hike tariff with the usual purpose of bringing improvements, which has constantly remain a mirage, and many Nigeria communities are in un-ending blackout. Increment must be balanced with adequate supply, anything otherwise is not justified.”
Also speaking at the event, the deputy chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Lagos state chapter, Comrade Okuneye, said the means of power sector and its agency is a challenge that all Nigerians should rise against.
Okuneye said any further hike in tariff should cost the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Fashola, his job.
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