Electricity consumers reject proposed tariff increase
A cross-section of electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja on Wednesday rejected the proposed increase in electricity tariff.
The consumers made their stand known during a public hearing on the application made by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for electricity tariff review.
The public hearing had the theme: “Investment Toward Improvement of Power Supply and Quality Service in the Nigerian Electricity supply industry’’.
Mr Okpe Sunday, the Executive Secretary, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that considering tariff increase at this point would be a disservice to citizens.
Sunday said that Nigerians were struggling to pay for the electricity they currently consumed, noting that increasing the tariff would not be the best.
“Considering the fact that we have other challenges, how are we going to accommodate the increase in tariff, 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.
Mr Princewill Okorie, the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis, said the gathering was quite inadequate as AEDC served the Northcentral as the real people using electricity were not here.
Okorie 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.
He urged NERC to work with civil societies that were into consumers’ advocacy to get adequate information and monitor what the DisCos were doing.
On his part, Mr Uket Obonga, the 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.
He said there was a need for an effective database to be put in place by NERC to have adequate information on those using electricity.
“Besides that, each time they review tariff, they will be talking of improved services, for now until service improves, no tariff increase,‘’ he said.
On his part, Mr Deji Macaulay, Abuja Coordinator for Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE), said the coalition rejected any increase in tariff as it rejected it in 2015.
On his part, the Managing Director, AEDC, Mr Ernest Mupwaya, justifying why the proposed tariff review should be given accelerated consideration, said that it would guarantee sufficient power supply, metering, massive investments in the network and improved service to customers.
Mupwaya, while speaking on the 4-year metering plan, said the company had a target to roll out 170,239 meters in 2019 and 330,377 in 2020.
“257,373 in 2021 and 109,302 in 2022, bringing the number to 867,291 meters,‘’ he said.
Mr Dafe Akpeneye, the Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, NERC, said the commission had taken note of the presentation from AEDC and comments from electricity stakeholders, adding that the next step by the commission is to consider what had been heard.
According to him, the commission will receive further briefings from AEDC and any other presentation the public will want to make.
“The NERC will sit to consider all the issues as we have not reached a decision, it is based on the submissions before us that the commission will reach a decision.
“There are some issues which the commission cannot address here because the questions do not form the reason for the gathering, so we advise such people to engage the commission directly and we will be happy to address them,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NERC has approved a new electricity tariff to be charged by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in the country with effect from April 1.
NAN also recalls that the last review was done in 2015.
Under the new tariff regime, residential customers of AEDC that were paying N27.20 per unit would pay N47.09.
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