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New electricity tariff: A heavy burden…


The protesters

The protesters

ONE week after the new price regime of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) was effected by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and civil society organisations yesterday carried out their threat to go on nationwide mass rally to protest against increase in electricity tariff by distribution companies.

From Lagos to Ibadan, Benin and across the Niger to the north, it was a bold statement that resonated from Nigerians, who bearing several inscriptions rejected the new tariff. They were all united in reason behind the protest, which is attributed to non-improvement in services delivered by distribution companies that inherited the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Many consumers are not metered and are constantly being “over-charged” for services not rendered, especially those on Analog meter and those placed on estimated billings. They are also agonising paying huge sums for prepaid meter, which they are yet to get.

Endurance Yemi, who lives in Bammeke and owns a shop in Shasha, both in Egbeda, Lagos State, said: “I pay N3,500 per month as electricity bill at home and I pay the same amount for my shop. I use analogue meters in both places. Light is more constant in my shop than in my house. I feel bad when paying electricity bill for my house because it is not regular.

“At night when I need it most. My family and I have to sweat throughout the night, as I cannot afford to fuel the generating set, With this new tariff, I might be paying nearly N10,000 for electricity I don’t consume. But if we are on prepaid meter, it will make some economic sense because you can regulate what you consume. The economic situation is bad, things are hard and this new tariff is another burden on us.”

Another electricity consumer, Bababunmi Agbebi, who lives in Akoka, Lagos, said he uses the prepaid meter. “I spend less than N3,000 monthly if my family spend lesser time at home. Despite our cost-saving measures, we usually have electricity for an average of five hours in a day.

“It doesn’t make sense. Let government fix power generation and distribution, and ensure there is justice in the distribution of prepaid meters. The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola should know that Nigerians are going through hardship at this time. The dollar is increasing; hence the prices of everything have gone up.”

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