Stakeholders reject planned electricity tariff increase by EEDC, urge improved services
Stakeholders in electricity sector in Enugu State yesterday rejected the proposed increase in electricity tariff, asking the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to overhaul and improve services before asking for new increase.
The stakeholders insisted that nothing much had been done to improve electricity distribution in the South-East since the company took over from Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over five years ago, stressing that the company had failed to meet the expectations of the people.
At a stakeholders’ consultation on the extraordinary review of the multiyear tariff order, expected to usher in a new electricity tariff regime by April this year, called by the EEDC in liaison with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the consumers stated that increasing tariff at this time would further impoverish the people.
Speaking at the event, A consumer, Mr. David Emenalo, stated that electricity users in the South-East had been seriously exploited, stressing that apart from over-billing, officials of the Disco in the zone had deliberately denied more than half of the residents pre-paid meters to rip them off.
Prof. Anthony Ozoemenam, who lamented how he had been denied electricity since 2011 and had relied on generating set since then to run his home, stated that consumers would have been willing to pay if services provided by EEDC were efficient.
An economist, Dr. Chinwike Uba, had noted that the EEDC should get more residents living in suburbs and neighbouring communities connected to electricity to improve their revenue, stressing that the company should focus more on economic consideration than political or welfare considerations while making investments.
The EEDC said it called the stakeholders’ forum to enable it rub minds with the consumers on the proposed tariff increase and to enable customers see reasons why they should support at least 50 per cent increase in tariff.
EEDC’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Vincent Ekwekwu, said the company had in the last five years invested billions of naira in infrastructure to improve and sustain services, stressing that it did over 47 projects alone in Enugu State.He pleaded with the customers to support the new tariff increase in view of the burden of inflation rate and high foreign exchange, which he said, had impacted negatively on the importation cost of materials they purchase to run their services.
Representative of NERC, Mr. Emeka Onyegbule, also explained that it was becoming increasingly difficult for generating companies to meet up with their mandate due to paucity of funds.
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