Organised Labour on Wednesday asked electricity consumers to ignore speculations making the rounds about an impending hike in tariffs.
In a memo to the Minister of Power on the issue, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, reminded the Federal Government of its agreement with Labour to freeze further increases in electricity tariff until the joint committee on Electricity Tariffs concluded its assignment.
A copy of the letter also sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read: “We wish to draw your attention to the wave of speculations, especially as widely reported in the media, that there are fresh plans to grant approval to Electricity Distribution Companies to hike electricity tariff.
“We write to remind the Honourable Minister that Organized Labour on September 28, 2020 through the Federal Government – Organized Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff agreed to freeze further increases in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its work and its report adopted by all the Principals in the Committee.
“It is in light of this that we dismiss the ongoing speculation on increase in electricity tariff as mere speculations.
“We, however, find it prudent to put you on notice that should government make true the swirling speculation by approving an increase in electricity tariff, Organized Labour would be left with no option than to deploy the industrial mechanisms granted in our laws for the defense of workers’ rights.
“Please accept the renewed assurances of our highest esteem”, the NLC President said.
Last week, widespread speculations triggered huge confusion among electricity consumers who became anxious over conflicting reports about an impending hike allegedly approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The report had it that the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCos) were given the go ahead by NERC to increase electricity tariffs effective September 1, 2021.
The information about the directive by NERC was contained a document marked 023/EKEDP/GMCLR/0025/2021, dated August 25, 2021 and signed by the General Manager, Loss Reduction, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), Olumide Anthony-Jerome, that the DISCO had already communicated to its customers on the decision to raise its tariffs.
The company said the new tariffs would would be reflected on the consumers’ energy bill for October 2021.
The memo titled: “Tariff Increase Notification”, Eko DISCo urged its metered customers with internal vending arrangements to adjust the rates accordingly to reflect the new tariff increase as approved and released by NERC, the electricity industry regulator.
“This is to officially notify you that there will be an increase in electricity tariff with effect from 1st September 2021. This increase is as a result of the nationwide mandate to implement the Service Based Tariff approved by our regulators (NERC).
“Kindly note that the increase will be reflected on the energy bill for October 2021 which will represent energy consumption for September 2021,” Eko DISCo announced.
However, hours after the announcement, EKEDC issued a counter statement signed by its Managing Director, Adeoye Fadeyibi, dismissing the previous statement as unsubstantiated.
Urging the public to disregard all reports about an impending tariffs hike, Fadeyibi said the company was
still reviewjng effective and regulatory strategies to manage the impact of changes to the macro-economic indices affecting end-user tariffs.
He said the general public would be duly informed at the appropriate time, in the event of any changes to the end-user tariff.
In May, the former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, assured Nigerians that despite indications in the schedule of the multi-year tariff order that price hike was due on July 1, the review would not be “significant”.
The Minister assured that the MYTO issued by NERC on April 26, 2021 titled, “Notice of Minor and Extraordinary Review of Tariffs for Electricity Transmission and Distribution Companies,” was a routine procedure.
Despite the confusion, NERC has maintained silence, an action close followers of developments in the power sector interpret to mean consent to the speculations.
Last the Federal Government constituted a special committee, comprising representatives of organised Labour, the Federal Government and other Interest groups to review the impact of the hike in the pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs.
The agreement to freeze all further hike in the prices of petrol and electricity till further notice was one of the key resolutions to stop the NLC from calling its members out on a nationwide protest.
At the inauguration of the Petroleum Industry Act implementation Committee in Abuja last week, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Committee, Timipreye Sylva, assured Nigerians that no review of petroleum products price and tariff on electricity till the committee completes its assignment.
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