Socio-Economic Effects of the Increase in Electricity Tariff
Electricity distribution companies, DISCOs, across the country this month implemented a new tariff regime.
This was as a result of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s, NERC, directive that DISCOs is to maintain a four naira tariff for all customers consuming less than fifty kilowatt of energy per month.
Under the new regime, consumers will now pay sixty-six naira per kilowatt unit of energy consumed in an hour.
Before now consumers were paying thirty naira, twenty three kobo per kilowatt.
President Muhammadu Buhari had emphasised that the review must translate to improved service delivery while poor and vulnerable Nigerians should not pay more in all cases.
Also, the president had ordered mass metering in the country to put an end to estimated billing which had been exorbitant and unbearable for Nigerians.
As expected, the hike in electricity tariff has been generating protests from all over the country.
Among the group that protested are National Association of Nigerian Students, workers, and different civil society groups.
The protesters condemned the policy as they believed the policy will bring untold hardship to the citizens.
Both Nigeria Labour Congress and Trades Union Congress accused the Federal Government of being hard on Nigerians.
President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, noted that government was taking Nigerians for granted, describing the action as most insensitive and outrageous to the citizens who are currently bearing heavy burden of the covid-19 pandemic.
Also, President, Trades Union Congress, Mr. Quadri Olaleye, stated that increasing electricity bills at a time people were losing jobs and when businesses were adversely affected by Covid-19 was uncalled for.
It is disheartening that most Nigerians are not enjoying twenty four hour electricity supply, especially in the Southwest Nigeria after the fire incident that gutted the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, office which supplies Oyo metropolis and parts of Ogun and Lagos states.
DISCOs should perform optimally by ensuring that the billing is commensurate with energy being supplied to the consumers.
It is obvious that Nigerians need power for the socioeconomic development of the society.
The multi-year tariff order (MYTO) was introduced to take care of different people but the structure seems to have failed.
Therefore, the sector needs to be revamped to accommodate serious investors to move it forward.
States should also take step through legislation in removing generation of power from the exclusive list so as to generate and distribute power to its residents.
It is hoped that the Federal Government will listen to the yearnings of the people by reversing the new electricity tariff to the old one to make life bearable for the citizens.