Energy - News - May 3, 2021

Why electricity workers’ union opposes pending tariff hike

There is no justification for any adjustment in electricity tariffs in the country at this time, the electricity sector workers’ umbrella union, the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has said.
The Secretary General of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, said considering that the electricity tariffs have been reviewed several times in the last two years without  commensurate improvement in service delivery to consumers, there was no reason to contemplate another review, no matter how insignificant.
Ajaero spoke on Friday amid speculations that the government has concluded plans to carry out another adjustment of electricity tariffs any moment from now.
Speculations about an imminent tariff hike heightened following the publication on April 26 by the electricity sector regulator, NERC, of the latest “Notice of Minor and Extraordinary Review of Tariffs for Electricity Transmission and Distribution Companies”.
But the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday allayed fears by consumers of a major tariffs increase, dismissing the publication by NERC as “routine procedure”.
In the statement, the Minister urged electricity consumers to dismiss rumours of an imminent “major hike in electricity tariff.”
“There is no plan to significantly raise tariffs”, he said.
“Instead of significant hike in electricity tariff, Nigerians should expect increased efficiency in the sector to reduce tariffs, while managing headwinds from foreign exchange and inflation,” he added.
But the electricity workers are of the view that as long as the power system has consistently under-performed, there is reason to contemplate about tariff increment. would continue.
The NUEE leader said between last January and today electricity consumers have been served several notices by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) about planned tariff increases.
Ajaero said for a long time it appears NERC has no other mandate than increasing tariffs to inflict more pains on consumers.
“It does not matter to them whether power supply is improving or not. To date, there have been five tariff reviews after privatization exercise, yet the capacity has not improved beyond the same 400 megatts (MW),” he said.
He described the service reflective tariff regime, which places consumers on different tariff bands based on a particular number of hours electricity has been supplied, as the greatest scam by the government on consumers.
“DISCos don’t adhere to this arrangement. If they (DISCos) don’t supply electricity to the consumers for the number of hours they promised, what happens?” he asked.
“The much celebrated tariff reflective service refime in most cases, based on feedback nationwide, has instigated poor quality of power supply and a glaring decrease in efficiency delivery,” he noted.

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