The Electricity Consumer Protection Forum (ECPF) today staged a protest against an increase in electricity tariff.
Last month, Sam Amadi, chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, said some bills will increase by 5 percent while others will rise by as much as 40 percent, depending on the power provider and class of customer. The change in rates had been slated for mid-November.
However, the ECPF has spoken against the proposed hike. According to the group, power supply as it is, is not regular, with a large percentage of electricity users having to depend on generators for power. The group argued that it is not logical for any increment to be allowed in the current sorry state of power in the country.
The group was joined in the protest by Oshodi Articulate Residents which took place at Ikeja area of Lagos.
The two groups said they were breaking the long silence over poor power supply, estimated bills and proposed tariff hike.
The Nigerian Association of Energy Economists (NAEE) had recently noted that only 25 percent of people in the country have access to regular power supply. Despite the power distribution companies have insisted that only an increase in tariff would keep them in business.
Nigeria dismantled its power monopoly and sold 15 state generation and distribution companies in 2013 to private investors in an attempt to end the crippling electricity shortages. Sadly, the anticipated success have never been achieved as Nigerians still lack access to regular power supply.
With the NERC banning DISCos from charging consumers for losses caused by billing mistakes, tariff reduced by more than half in some areas, making most of the distribution utilities to declare force majeure, as they claimed they could not pay for their power supply. To them, only an increase in tariff can make things work.
NECPF and other civil society organisations, as well as labour unions have spoken against the proposed hike. They have also urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow a tariff increase as it would aggravate the suffering of Nigerians.