Protests As New Electricity Tariffs Begin Today

There is apprehension among residential and commercial electricity consumers across the country as the new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2015) takes off today amid doubts over commensurate electricity supply.

A meeting called by the regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday failed to convince the manufacturers to drop their earlier opposition to the new tariff regime.

It learnt that at the meeting with NERC management, MAN insisted that its members would not discuss the tariffs because the matter was in court.

A committee was subsequently set up to discuss an out-of-court settlement.

While employers under the aegis of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) demanded an improved electricity supply, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the new tariffs.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, the Director General of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo, said employers of labour were spending huge resources to power their operations, which contribute to the overall cost of production.

He said: “Well, an increase of the tariffs is not something that employers would moan about really especially if one looks at how much diesel is sold at. For us, the issue is not primarily about increment to tariffs but about the availability of electricity. If power is available, employers would spend less on their operations, which would ultimately lead to a reduction in the prices of goods and services. So, if electricity is available, employers would do much more, employ more workers and produce at cheaper rate that would benefit the economy in the long term.”

Organised labour under the aegis of the NLC has however, berated NERC’s decision to increase electricity tariffs without ensuring availability of meters to promote social justice where consumers would pay for exactly the amount of electricity they consume.

According to the Congress President, Ayuba Wabba, relying on estimated bills rips consumers off.

He said: “Congress considers as illegal, unfair, unjustifiable and a further exploitation of the already exploited Nigerians, the 45 per cent increase in electricity.”

Credit: Guardian

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