Lagos- Some stakeholders in the power sector on Saturday decried the proposal by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to increase electricity tariff by Dec. 1.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that NERC, had on Nov. 20, said that consumers would pay more for electricity from Dec.1 when the new price of gas for generating power would take effect.
Mr Mohammed Bello, NERC Vice Chairman, said that the price of gas, inflation, foreign exchange rate and power generation capacity were some of the factors considered before proposing the tariff review.
Alhaji Ganiyu Makanjuola, the President, National Association of Electricity Consumers of Nigeria (NAECN), said that government should first address the fundamental issues of infrastructure, generation capacity and transmission.
He said that the association and electricity consumers were totally against the proposed tariff increase.
According to him, it is wrong for NERC to have concluded plans to increase electricity tariff without first addressing the epileptic power situation in the country.
Makanjuola said that several complaints by consumers and the non-availability of prepaid metres should be tackled first by NERC before proposing tariff increase.
“NERC should have first addressed the power situation by improving capacity before deciding to increase tariff.
“We are really concerned about the proposed tariff increase; consumers cannot just continue to pay for what they do not consume.
“Power should be made available first before NERC can think of tariff increase. We are concerned because any increase in tariff should match increased power supply,’’ he said.
Makanjuola said the proposed tariff increase “is a mockery of the Federal Government’s avowed commitment to the welfare of the people”.
Mr Adekunle Makinde, the immediate past president, Nigerian Institution of Electrical Electronics Engineers (NIEEE), said that the upward review of electricity tariff might witness another round of protest by consumers across the country.
“Now that the government is compelling consumers to pay more, it may result in another round of protests.
“Consumers are already protesting against poor power supply in every area of Lagos and other parts of the country.
“So, why do you have to increase tariff when the supply is not regular.
“We are still in darkness and they want to make us pay more. It is really a shame.
“If their argument is that it is part of reforming the power sector, then they should have first made the power available before asking the people to pay more.’’
Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said that this was not the best time for government to hike the tariff.
Okoronkwo said that instead of increasing electricity tariff, investors in the power sector should do more to ensure that consumers enjoyed the benefit of the privatisation exercise.
The IPMAN chief said that the decision to hike tariff “is a case of putting the cart before the horse”.
He said that the investors should invest more in infrastructure upgrade to improve power generation and distribution capacity. (NAN)