April 15, 2024

Electricity tariff hike: We’re still consulting over strike — Union

Electricity tariff

The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has said it is “still consulting” with stakeholders and its members on its planned strike over the recently approved electricity tariff hike.

The Acting general secretary of NUEE, Dominic Igwebike, stated this in an interview on Channels Television on Monday.

According to reports, the union had threatened that its members would begin a nationwide strike on Monday.

However, Igwebike said the decision to embark on a nationwide protest had yet to be firmed up.

He said, “The decision to embark on strike was taken because our members will be attacked if they attempt to go out to cut light. Those customers they put on Band A don’t have light, so they are saying they won’t pay. 

“Our lives will be at risk because most of those in the category are still on estimated bills. But we are still consulting on the next step to take,” he added.

In an earlier statement, NUEE was quoted to have told the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu that its members would take decisive action if nothing was done about the withdrawal of the tariff.

On April 3, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) raised the electricity tariff for Band A customers to N225 per kilowatt-hour from N66KWh.

Band A customers are those customers getting 20 hours of power supply daily.

However, NUEE joined the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Unions Congress and others to condemn the tariff hike.

According to NUEE, it is not feasible to have 20 hours of electricity supply, hence, the government should reverse the tariff increase.

“The recent hike in electricity tariff from N68/kWh to N225/kWh is absurd in a country where most of the masses are grappling with basic survival and an electricity access rate of about 55 per cent. The hike in the electricity tariff is grossly detrimental to Nigeria’s economic diversification, growth, and well-being.

“As a critical stakeholder in the power sector concerned with Nigerians getting constant and affordable power supply, we state categorically that the hike in the electricity tariff is not beneficial to Nigerians and should be withdrawn.

“We just want the citizens to know that this thing is not possible, it is not feasible, you cannot give what you don’t have.

“When we don’t have the energy to give to the people, and you ask our people to go out and collect such money, you know it is dangerous. We often don’t disclose what to do to the public because our sector is critical to the nation,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, who spoke through his media aide, Bolaji Tunji, said the government was doing everything to improve supply in Nigeria, and everybody would be happy at the end of the day.

“We want to appeal to the labour union to understand what led to this. This is not about strike. It is about understanding so that we can all work together.

“It is not anybody’s joy that there are blackouts all the time. These steps are being taken to solve the problems in the power sector. I beg the labour union to understand that this will galvanise the economy and create jobs.

“I want to appeal to the union to bear with us. It is for the good of the nation,” he stated.

Since the tariff hike, the power supply has dropped nationwide, as electricity customers lament the lack of a sufficient power supply across the country.