Fresh electricity tariffs: Showdown imminent as consumers, Labour threaten action against DisCos

Outrage and angry reactions have continued to trail the unexpected upward review of electricity tariffs by about 100 percent by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies, (DisCos) operating in the country.

Recall that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), had assuaged the fears of Nigerians after the outcry that trailed an increase in the tariffs in September 2020 and January this year, that the DisCos would not increase tariffs of customers enjoying less than 12 hours of power supply daily.

Also, on April 25, the Federal Government apologised to Nigerians over the current power outages and shortages in various parts of the country, blaming it on the breakdown of some National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) and others supplying electricity to the national grid.

The Ministry of Power, Sale Mamman,  listed the affected plants to include Sapele, Afam, Olorunsogo, Omotosho, Ibom, Egbin, Alaoji, and Ihovbor, while staying that other integrated power plants, Geregu, Sapele, Omotosho, Gbarain, Omoku, Paras, and Alaoji, are experiencing gas constraints.

The ministry had also explained that while the Jebba Power Plant was shut down for annual maintenance, the Shiroro Power Plant has water management problems. The condition of the plants, the ministry said, had drastically affected power generation, leading to effectively minimising the national grid.

While apologising to Nigerians for the inconveniences the power shortages have caused, the Minister had assured that the ministry, through the appropriate agencies, was working assiduously to rectify the technical problems affecting the plants, as well as making effort to resolve the gas issues to the others.

However, despite the assurances and apologies, the Discos earlier in the month surreptitiously introduced new rates without informing Nigerians, who only got to know of the hike while trying to buy energy.

Checks revealed that the discos are not adhering to the increment terms reached with labour, as customers below 12 hours supply daily have had the tariff increased by about 100 percent. The development threw many Nigerians into confusion, particularly those using prepaid meters, who were unable to load the energy tokens generated for them, as the discos had already reconfigured their system to accommodate the new tariffs.

It was gathered that the increment was effected by the DisCos on April 13, but many Nigerians were not aware of it until the morning of April 19 when they visited the offices of their electricity providers to complain about their inability to load the token for energy purchases.

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