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Stakeholders condemn electricity tariff hike, call for reversal



Some power experts have condemned the increase in electricity tariff, describing it as arbitrary and calling for the immediate reversal of the increase.

The experts who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday said the sudden increase was illegal.

NAN reports that condemnation has continued to trail the increase in electricity tariffs by power distribution companies (Discos), with consumer groups and industry experts describing the hike as illegal.

Mr Sina Odugbemi, National Coordinator, WhereIsTheLight, an advocacy group, said, “There’s no noble reason for the perennial and at times secret increase in electricity tariff by the Discos beyond their inhuman exploitation.

“Profit, not service, is the focus to these organisations that always breach all rules of engagement with impunity, and the government is condoning such barefaced robbery and lawlessness.

“This points out the evil of privatisation of public utilities while still using public funds to sustain the same enterprise sold to a few privileged individuals.”

Odugbemi said sustainability should not be by exploitation of customers but by quality service.

He said the overwhelming majority of power consumers were still not metered as promised and directed by the federal government.

He wondered how the Discos would continue to hike tariffs when many communities bought transformers, cables and poles themselves.

He said communities still made payments to officials of Discos to fix faults and materials, which is contrary to the guidelines of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

He said despite this; the Discos claimed ownership of materials such as transformers, poles and wires bought by communities, companies or individuals.

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“Is that not crazy and open robbery? he queried.

Prof. Yemi Oke, a legal consultant and energy advisor, said, “This is lawlessness of the highest order. So, we’ll continue to arbitrarily increase tariffs without complying with the provisions of the law? What a shame!

“Things are not done like this in any decent clime. We’re reasonably educated and civilised enough to know what goes on around there. It’s a big shame.”

The professor maintained that the tariff hike was annoying, “We’ve been reduced to nothing as a people and businesses. Not even the decency or courtesy of information and adequate notice was given the the general public before the hike.

“Tariff methodologies have statutory bases. NERC has regulations but it is violating its own regulations by failing to ensure effective regulation of this vital sector.

“Part of regulatory efficiency is to set clear rules and guidelines with clear benchmarks.

“A prudent regulator will not encourage or condone clandestine increase in tariffs. It’s all a failure of direction, leadership and regulation.

“It will never improve sector efficiency or bring out those Discos from technical insolvencies.”

Oke added that Nigerians would continue to play ‘smart’ and protest against the anomaly.

“A responsible regulator will be open, firm and decisive in its actions even if tariffs need to be justifiably increased.

“So, Nigerians don’t have a right to know? We’re now so ‘worthless’ that we keep paying more e

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