Electricity Tariff Hike Portends Unrest, Says TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has labeled the increase in electricity charges sanctioned by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, as a catalyst for social upheaval within the nation.

Dr. Tommy Okoh, Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, condemned the increase as unjustifiable, urging the government to consider the plight of the underprivileged and ease their financial burden.

According to him, “The hike in the electricity tariff from 66/kwh to 225/kwh for people who enjoy electricity supply for 20 hours per day is totally unacceptable and a recipe for unrest.

“This shows clearly that Nigeria is not ready for 24 hours electricity supply. As we speak, you cannot point anywhere in Nigeria that people are enjoying 20 hours of electricity supply, not even at the airport where it is expected for economic reasons.

“We think the government has goofed again especially at this time of socioeconomic challenges where the cost of living is very exorbitant and the salary of the workers remained static.

“Today, we are still battling with the fuel subsidy removal without any corresponding remedy and yet the increase in the electricity tariff without the supply of electricity. This government should know that they were not voted into office for the enslavement of the citizens but to protect and better the lots of the masses. This is an indication that the poor can no longer breathe.”

It was previously noted by the NERC that its recent tariff increase would impact a total of 1,974,385 electricity consumers.

Africa Today News, New York, gathered information indicating that the tariff increase was intended to substantially reduce the estimated N2.9 trillion electricity subsidy in the 2024 fiscal year.

Read also: Nigerians Tired Of Govt’s Rhetoric, Want Action – TUC

Further investigation revealed that the tariff hike was necessary due to financial challenges resulting from the federal government’s failure to meet its obligations to the Nigeria Electricity Market.

The NERC, on Tuesday, hiked electricity tariff for Band A customers by 230 percent from N68 per kilowatt hour to N225/kWh.

Band A customers are those that receive an average daily supply electricity supply 20 hours or more. With the new order issued by NERC, Band A would no longer enjoy Federal Government subsidy on electricity.

The NERC said on Wednesday that subsidy payments across the bands have become unsustainable.

President Bola Tinubu made the decision on July 1, 2023, to halt the escalation of electricity tariffs, vowing to bridge the gap through subsidies. However, the pledged financial support from the government remains outstanding, leaving power generation firms and gas suppliers grappling with an accumulated debt of N3.5 trillion.

Mr. Musliu Oseni, NERC’s Vice Chairman, elaborated on the strategy to designate customers receiving at least 20 hours of electricity daily into Band A. This entailed reducing the number of qualifying feeders from 875 to below 500.

He clarified that the tariff hike would impact only 15 percent of the 13,162,572 electricity customers across the nation, with the remainder maintaining the old rate until their supply improved and they transitioned to the new Band A.

NERC voiced optimism that the augmented revenue would incentivize investments in the sector, noting plans to employ various strategies to guarantee that customers in Band A receive their daily allocation of electricity from distribution companies, DisCos.

Africa Today News, New York

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