Residents of Enugu have rejected the proposed increase in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DisCos) warning that no attempt should be made to increase the hardship the masses were going through in the country.
The residents who spoke at the stakeholders’ consultations on the Extraordinary Review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order organised by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc (EEDC) said they were yet to receive commensurate services on the current tariff hence not disposed to any increase.
The DisCos had come up with a 50 per cent increase on the current tariff which they said would commence in April this year and were engaging customers to accept their proposal.
But at the EEDC’s stakeholder consultations at the Bon Sunshine Hotel, Presidential Road, Enugu, one customer after another took a swipe at the EEDC which covers the South-East geo-political zone, expressing displeasure with its services.
While the majority of the customers said absolute no to increase in tariff, some said their problem was not increase in the tariff, but the DisCos (EEDC) giving them the required service.
“EEDC is exploiting customers in the South-East; they should stop estimation and meter everybody then come and talk of the tariff increase,” they said.
One of those who spoke, Prof. Anthony Ozoemena, narrated his frustration in the hands of the distribution company since 2011 which led to the closure of his then flourishing company.
According to him, “In 2011 out of frustration I wrote the company to come and recover their meters following a blackout and constant issuance of high bills for no power supply. I closed a flourishing company which if not for their frustration I would have been competing with Innoson now. Since 2011 till now, I’ve been using a generator. So I don’t think the tariff is the issue; they must meter everybody first.”
Others including, Dr Victor Okorogu, Onaga Kelvin and David Enemadu who spoke in the same line of thought, saying the company should keep the tariff increase in view and improve on its infrastructure.
“Increase in tariff is not the issue but infrastructure. You must replace and resuscitate obsolete transformers and give the people service first and they will be happy to pay any tariff,” Dr Okorogu said.
Earlier, the Chief Technical Officer of EEDC and other officers had explained the reason behind the increase and solicited the support of the customers.
Also speaking, the representative of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Emeka, noted that the DisCos including EEDC have not been able to pay tariff for generation, noting that as at December 2019, they were only able to pay 29 per cent of the generator’s cost.
Stressing that increase in the tariff was to assist them to meet up their responsibilities to the customers and the generators, the NERC official said the regulatory body directed the DisCos to engage the customers to get their permission for the increase.
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