By Joan Nwagwu
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to take decisive action on the plan by DISCOs to hike electricity tariff in the country.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President on Tuesday in Abuja made the call in a statement titled: “Increase in Electricity Tariff by Abuja DISCOs – a taunting of the will of the Nigerian people gone too far”.
Wabba said that the organised labour would mobilise Nigerian workers to resist the increase in electricity tariff by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), effective from Sept. 1.
Wabba said that the NLC condemned the alleged “deaf and dumb” posture of the state electricity regulators – the NERC.
“We wish to state that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seriously frowns at, completely condemns and totally rejects any plan to inflict further pain on Nigerians at this very time of great economic distress.
“The new dribble by the Abuja DISCO is dead on arrival as it will be resisted by the Nigerian working class and people. The other DISCOs should not bother putting their ships of exploitation to sail.
“It is important to put it on record that the NERC will be putting its name on the wrong side of history if it continues to play the ostrich while a group of portfolio investors make a blood meal of Nigerians.
“Nigerian electricity consumers need the NERC to speak up and act in the defense of the rights of the Nigerian people,” he said.
He noted that adamant desire by the DISCOs was to ram through an ill-conceived agenda to further impoverish Nigerians amid plummeting return on service delivery.
He said that the brazen decision was taken in spite of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly had ordered the DISCos to suspend the electricity tariff increase till further notice.
“It appears that the adamant desire of DISCOs in Nigeria to ram through their ill-conceived agenda to further impoverish Nigerians through astronomical tariff increase amidst a plummeting return on service delivery has now been deregulated.
“The DISCOs appear to have given themselves the ignoble tasks of taking turns to taunt the will of the Nigerian people.
“Abuja DISCO has adorned the robe of the protagonist in this regard with its announcement of a new tariff plan for electricity consumers within its service area starting from Sept. 1, 2020.
“This move is in spite of the resolution of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and even the direct orders of Mr President that the plans by DISCOs to hike electricity tariff should be suspended until further notice.
“We are not aware of any order by the government or the elected representatives of the Nigerian people de-freezing the order to suspend any plans to inflict more pocket and psychological trauma on Nigerians by way of reckless and insensitive hike in electricity tariff,” he said.
Wabba however, noted that since the unbundling of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to yield the DISCOs and GENCOs, electricity tariffs through the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) had been increased a number of times without accompanying improvement in services.
He said that each hike in electricity tariff in Nigeria was trailed by huge leap in hours of darkness, de-metering of more Nigerians, exponential rise in incidences of estimated billing.
“This has also increased the burden on citizens for the procurement of equipment and facilities for public electricity supply amidst other devious methods by DISCOs to cheat, exploit and despoil poor Nigerians,” he said.(NAN)