Showdown looms over new electricity tariffs

Against the backdrop of the increase in new electricity tariffs effective from February 1, Labour and members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would next Monday (February 8) hold a nation-wide mass protest and shut down the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Generating Electricity Companies (GENCOs) and the Distribution companies (DISCOs).

This is even as the Nigeria Labour Con­gress (NLC) yesterday filed a contempt of court order against the trio at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wab­ba told Daily Sun that Labour and its al­lies would picket the offices of NERC, GENCOs and DISCOs simultaneously.

 

“We have warned that our action would be spontaneous. So, next week Monday, the offices of NERC, DISCOs and GEN­COs would be picketed nation-wide. Our members in the states will shut down the activities there while at the Federal Capi­tal Territory (FCT) in Abuja, we will start with the NERC, then march on to all the GENCOs and the DISCOs and terminate at the National Assembly”, he said.

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Wabba noted that Labour would em­ploy all the legal and justifiable ways to ensure that Nigerians are not exploited by being manipulated to pay the new tariffs.

 

“This is why besides the protest hold­ing next Monday, our lawyers were in court today to file the contempt of court order against NERC, the DISCOs and the GENCOs, because there is a substi­tuting court injunction in May last year that no increment until the determination of the substantive suit.”

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Besides, Wabba said: “There have been no significant improvement in service delivery, upon the fact that most consumers are not metered in ac­cordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of November 1, 2013 which stipulated that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.

 

He said the increment at this time ne­gates the present biting and prevailing economic recession vis-a-vis an attempt to further impoverish the masses.

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Meanwhile, reacting to the outcry over the new rates, the NERC Acting Execu­tive Secretary, Tony Akah, insisted yes­terday that new price regime would pro­vide the companies with much-needed fund to improve services.

 

Akah, who spoke with journalists on the sideline of the budget defence hear­ing of the Ministry of Power and its agencies at the House of Representa­tives in Abuja, said the new price re­gime was of a performance contract the commission signed with the DISCOs. The NERC boss explained that under the new performance contract, DISCOs must provide transformers, meters, elec­tric poles and other basic equipment to ensure customers enjoy quality service.