OPC urges Tinubu to stop Discos’ plans to increase electricity tariffs

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By Adekunle Williams
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has urged President Bola Tinubu to stop the proposed increase in electricity tariffs by the Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The OPC President, Mr Wasiu Afolabi, made the call in a statement signed by its General-Secretary, Mr Bunmi Fasehun, in Lagos on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government on Friday disclosed that 11 successor electricity companies have applied for a review of their respective electricity tariffs.
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said the rate review is to incorporate changes in macroeconomic parameters and other factors affecting the quality of service, operations and sustainability of the companies.
Afolabi, in the statement, described the move as anti-people, oppressive, unjustified and aimed at discrediting the new regime of President Tinubu.
He urged Tinubu to kill the proposed electricity price increase, saying that workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and industrialists under the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had earlier rejected the move.
Afolabi noted that Nigerians were still grappling with the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal, saying that increasing the cost of electricity would be adding to citizens’ burden and painting the Tinubu administration as uncaring.
“Furthermore, the power distributors will increase their earnings if they stop incessant power cuts and poor services.
“Today, citizens are the ones buying their own poles, transformers, cables and prepaid meters.
“DISCOs have turned themselves into rent-takers and blackout distributors. We cannot continue this way.
“DISCOs should be told to supply prepaid meters free-of-charge, something they have refused to do so far.
“This is because they enjoy sending crazy bills to customers who suffer darkness and power failure all the time,” he lamented.
Adolabi advised the DISCOs to borrow the example of the telecommunications companies (TESCOS) that had reduced the cost that consumers paid for calls and data.
He reminded Discos that they had inherited the backbone and infrastructure of the old NEPA and PHCN for a small amount.
Afolabi said that in comparison, TESCOS independently made colossal investments in laying underground, underwater and fibre-optic cables, antenna and electricity generators, and they are reaping the profits today.
He urged DISCOs to justify the hundreds of billions in public funds that past regimes pumped into the sector, even when the distribution segment of the electricity value chain had been privatised.
According to him, it had become clear that the DISCOs wanted to reap where they did not plant.
“This is because the generation and transmission companies were largely discharging their responsibilities while distribution remained problematic.
“President Tinubu should tell distribution companies that if they cannot deliver with the current tariff, they should submit their licences and close shop.
“Moreover, the government should scrap this territorial monopoly, where only one DISCO has commandeered a service area and allows no competition.
“Consumers in any area should be able to choose and transfer to other DISCOs as currently obtains in telecommunications and in other countries,” he said.
Afolabi added that this would further create competition and push DISCOs to render quality service in order not to lose customers to competing suppliers. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi

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