By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka— INDUSTRIALISTS at the famous Harbour-Head Bridge Industrial Layout in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday took to the streets to protest alleged 95 per cent increase in electricity charges by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
Eko, Ikeja and Kaduna distribution companies for instance, reportedly had tariff increases of 22.42%, 28. 83 % and 40.80% respectively, while Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, was almost doubled.
Worried by the disparity and the fact that the layout was adversely affected during the 2012 flood disaster that ravaged parts of the country, the industrialists called for the intervention of the authorities to save the jobs of many Nigerians.
After a meeting at the premises of Pokobros Group Limited in Onitsha, the industrialists later converged on Ogbaru district of EEDC located in the area and submitted their protest letter to the business manager of EEDC, Mr. Ifeanyi Allison.
The protest letter, signed by the chairman, Chief Paul Okonkwo and secretary, Mr. Felix Otta, read: “We are surprised by the outrageous increase in electricity charges for industrial consumption. Our current electricity bill indicates a sudden rise in electricity charges from N23.97 to N46.66, which is choking to us.
“We categorically object to this scandalous increase in energy charges for EEDC by NERC because it is unfair, unaffordable and beyond our cost absorption capabilities.
“We are currently disputing the energy charges and retention of fixed charges as currently approved by NERC and we plead that as long as negotiation for the review of the 2015 charges of the Multiple Year Tariff Order is ongoing, your office should halt plans to disconnect electricity supply to our members, pending the resolution of the disputed charges.
“We are yet to recover from the losses we incurred during the 2012 flood disaster in which we lost critical infrastructure, like transformers, poles, and cables.”