By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG, MICHAEL EBOH & SEBASTINE OBASI
Criticisms have trailed the planned increase in electricity tariff, scheduled to commence June 1, as organised labour and other respondents, Tuesday, said the increase is anti-people, a ploy to further defraud Nigerians and worsen the poverty situation in the country.
The Federal Government had on Monday announced an increment in electricity tariff by 8.36 percent, from N13.75 to N14.90 per unit.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Mr. Sam Amadi, announced the development at a media briefing in Abuja.
Some of the respondents, who spoke to Vanguard, condemned the planned increase, wondering why government is not concerned about ensuring stable supply of power, but instead is focusing on increasing tariff.
Mr. David Adonri, an economic expert and Managing Director, Lambeth Trust and Investment Limited, said: “In my area in Bajulaiye Road, Shomolu, we have not had electricity in the past two months, not even for one second.
“If the electric power industry has been deregulated and privatised, government has no business in fixing price.
“Consumers need to take a class action suit against NERC to forestall this illegality.”
Despite the anger generated by the planned increase, electricity distribution companies in the country have announced their preparedness to commence the collection of the new tariff at the take-off date.
Mr. Pekun Adeyanju, Head Public Affairs, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, said the new electricity tariffs will be carried out accordingly.
He said: “As our regulator, we have to go by the guidelines given by NERC. We cannot go against them.”
Reacting to the planned increase, organised labour in the power sector said it was not surprised by the increase in electricity tariff, saying it had earlier warned Nigerians about it before the privatisation of the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The National Electricity Employees, NUEE, said Nigerians should expect more as the private sector is all about profit maximisation.