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NLC, Discos on collision course over electricity tariff hike

The organised labour kicked against the plan by the Federal Government to increase electricity tariff describing it as callous and insensitive to the well-being of consumers, especially the poor Nigerians.

Although power distribution companies and the NERC have not officially confirmed the planned increase, the Multi-Year Tariff Order of the regulator, which explains tariff reviews in the sector, indicates that electricity tariff is meant to be reviewed every six months.

This implies that the tariff being paid by power users currently will be reviewed and a new tariff will take effect from July 1, 2023.

In reviewing the tariff, based on MYTO, the NERC considers various economic factors. They include inflation rate, foreign exchange rate, available power generation capacity, gas price, and, capital expenditure adjustment.

Operators project that the high rate of inflation, coupled with the recent floating of the naira against the dollar, among other factors, will lead to an estimated rise of about 40 per cent in electricity tariff by July 1, 2023, should the MYTO be implemented.

Reacting to this, the NLC, on Thursday said the plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 per cent by July 1 “was both insensitive and callous and reflects an organised indifference to the wellbeing of consumers, especially, the poor ones.”

In a statement by its national president, Comrade Joe Ajaero in Abuja said the labour centre does not believe that these figures are a justification for this reckless proposed tariff increase.

The labour centre advised the federal government to shelve the plan.

Ajaero said the issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery is not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic.

“The plan to increase electricity tariff by 40 by July 1st is both insensitive and callous and reflects an organised indifference to the well-being of consumers, especially, the poor ones.

The issue of capacity to pay and quality of service delivery are not only germane but superior to any rationalisation by market logic, the service providers in spite of sundry support have not been able to meet the threshold of 5000 megawatts”, he said in the statement.

He added, “Coupled with this, there have been surreptitious increases without notice in violation of statutes, the inherent risk in the new regime of tariff is that there is no control, implying that by August, consumers will pay new rates.

The other risk is that by the time other product or service-rendering entities come up with their new prices or rates, the ordinary person would have been compacted into dust”.

According to the labour leader, “We would want to advise apostles of the Market who have called NLC all sorts of names to check their conscience, the rate at which they are going is highly combative and combustible.

With consideration of payment of school fees in tertiary institutions and increases in privately-owned ones in addition to other costs/tariffs on the way, life in Nigeria could truly be Hobbesian, in light of this, our advice is that this proposed tariff hike should be shelved for our collective safety.”

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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