By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja, Sept. 3, 2020 Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP-Ebonyi) has described the increase in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as ill-timed, given the challenges faced by most Nigerians at the moment.
Ogba, who is of Senate Committee on Sports, also said the increase in the pump price for petrol by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), would further inflict hardship on Nigerians.
Ogba made his views known in a telephone interview with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Ogba in his reaction to the increase in the price of electricity tariff and Premium Motor Spirit (Fuel) said:
“The country and indeed the whole world is facing serious problem right now because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Therefore, these increases are not good at all.
“It is adding salt to injury, because by increasing the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, the suffering of the people will become worse.
“The whole thing is not funny at all, you cannot put the blame on the agencies.
“This is because there is no way any of the agencies can increase the price of its commodity or service without first getting directive from the leadership of the country,” he said.
The National Assembly had earlier prevailed on the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), in June, to halt any further hike in electricity tariff untill 2021 given the impact of COVID-19.
The senate, however, has yet to make any official statement on the increases in the prices of electricity tariff and petroleum pump price.
However, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives, had in a statement on Sept 2, rejected the increase in pump price of fuel from N148 to N151. 56 as announced by the PPMC.
The minority lawmakers in the House of Representatives had in the statement noted that the increment was unacceptable as it would result in increase in the already high cost of consumer goods and services.
Meanwhile, Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), had a on Sept 1, began implementation of a new electricity tariff regime.
NERC had also in a statement by its Chairman, Prof. James Momoh, said the electricity tariff reviews would only follow service-based principles and prior consultation with customers.
Momoh, had said under the service-based principles, DISCOs would only be able to increase tariff rates for customers when they consulted with customers, commit to increasing number of hours of supply per day and quality of service.
“In all cases, poor and vulnerable Nigerians will not experience any increase,” Momoh had said.
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), had in a statement on Aug. 31, said it had began the implementation of the new service reflective tariff plan (SRT) across its franchise area.
Oyebode Fadipe, General Manager, Corporate Communications of AEDC, in the statement said the increment would result in longer hours of power supply.
“The Service Reflective Tariff (SRT), plan is a NERC mandated tariff structure whereby an upward increment in tariffs will result in substantially longer hours of power supply, good quality voltage profile, swifter response to faults clearing and provision of pre-paid meters.
“The new tariff design proposes an upwardly adjusted tariff for customers who are not averse to paying more to enjoy longer hours of supply, standard voltage profile and faster fault clearance timelines.
“While we keep working at ensuring all classes of customers enjoy improved supply, customers who enjoy less than 12 hours of supply will not be affected by the new tariff plan.
“Hours of supply to this class of customers will also not be adversely affected by the implementation of the plan,” Fadipe had said.
By Kingsley Okoye