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Customers lament as DisCos quietly hike electricity tariffs

Electricity consumers have decried the increase in tariff by the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCOs).

According to them, the increase is unjustifiable.

On Sunday, customers in the Federal Capital Territory, in separate interviews, said that DisCos had increased tariff payable for power across the country without notification.

According to them, the increase in electricity tariff is unjustified, given the unreliable, and epileptic power supply across the country.

“Millions of Nigerians continue to live in darkness in spite of the huge amount of money so far invested by governments as well as  bailouts to electricity companies,” they said.

The consumers said that it is annoying that the increase in tariff was not announced, adding that you only discover that there was an increase when you recharge your meter.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in its Multi-Year Tariff Order, provides a 15-year tariff plan for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry with limited minor reviews each year.

It states that the reviews are in the light of changes in a limited number of parameters such as inflation, interest rates, exchange rates and generation capacity, and major reviews every five years when all of the inputs were reviewed with the stakeholders.

There had been public outcry that the privatisation of the power sector had not yielded positive results and called for a mid-term review of the process or total reversal.

The power sector was privatised in November 2013, with six power generation plants and 11 electricity distribution companies handed over to the private sector.

The federal government, however, retained control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

The sector was unbundled and partially privatised to establish a competitive market intended to improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide a reliable and cost-efficient power supply.

Speaking on the increase, Kunle Olubiyo, the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network said that electricity tariff was increased without giving Nigerians the opportunity to make inputs.

Mr Olubiyo said that over the years, Nigerians and end users customers were being made to pay for systemic over-bloated costs at the detriment of the citizenry and economy at large.

According to him, the impact of the recent crises in the energy market supply value chain and the recent increase in electricity tariff are quite enormous.

“In order not to be left behind, the Nigerian Government should as a matter of urgency address the energy market supply gaps,” he said.

A resident of Kubwa, Ese Williams, described the increase as unjustifiable, saying there was no improvement in power supply, so why the increase.

Ms Williams said in spite of the increase in electricity tariff over the years, Nigerians had continued to live in darkness.

“In my area, you cannot even boast of having light for seven hours in a day.

“It’s just so frustrating, I call on the Federal Government to revisit the privatisation of the sector, because it is not working as things are deteriorating,” she said.

Also reacting to the price hike, a resident of Lugbe, Kola Jimoh, a mechanic  said that he was shocked when he recharged his meter with N3,000, and got only 44 units instead of 50 units he usually gets when he recharges for the same amount.

“I was so shocked when I recharged my electricity meter with N3,000 only to discover I got just 44 units and before when I recharge N2.500 I get about 50 units.

”I don’t understand how the electricity tariff will be increased without notifying consumers,” he said.

Ebuwa Ojo, a banker, resident in ACO, Estate along Airport Road, stressed the need for the regulatory bodies to check the  DisCos. 

“How can they continue increasing tariffs every time? She said. “I am not happy about the increase, it is becoming too frequent and not that the money, or light is there.”

Another consumer, a banker resident in Area 3, Titilayo Olowu said, “they increased the electricity tariff without informing us.

“There is no official communication to us on the increase, this is not good enough. We have a right to know what is happening,” he said.

Sandra Offor, a public servant resident in Garki, Abuja said that she was not happy the way her meter was running.

She said that she spends about N16,000 in a week to recharge her prepaid meter.

“I don’t even understand what is happening to my prepaid meter. It is  either the meter is bad or there is a problem. (NAN)

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