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06.04.2024 Featured ‘It’s Unacceptable’ — Nigerians React to Power Tariff Hike

Published 6th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

On Wednesday, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in the electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

The commission said the customers, who enjoy a minimum of 20 hours of electricity supply daily, would pay N225 per kilowatt (kW) instead of the N66 per kW tariff they were used to.

NERC also stated that the newly approved tariff was expected to reduce subsidies for the 2024 fiscal year by about N1.14 trillion.

While the subsidy reduction plan remains to be seen, Nigerians, who spoke to FIJ on the development, criticised the move, describing it as the government’s way of further showing it does not care about the hardship citizens face.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: FG Increases Electricity Tariff for Band A Consumers

IT’S UNACCEPTABLE

“It is simply unacceptable,” a Lagos State-based businessman, who asked to be simply referred to as Elijah, told FIJ on Friday evening.

“My office is situated in Ojodu, Lagos. NERC has taken the step without putting the plights of Nigerians into consideration, and it is unfair.

“Most ministries, agencies and commissions in Nigeria love to behave as if they are not aware that Nigerians, both the rich and the poor, now suffer a lot as regards our present economic realities.

“Being a Band A customer, and despite paying N66 per kW in the past, there were times I would struggle to make sure that I paid my workers their salaries on time. Apart from that, I also had to contend with other monthly office maintenance bills. That was when it was still N66 per kW.

“Now, you have chosen to increase the tariff by 300 percent. How do you now expect small businesses like mine to thrive? Do you want me to spend all the incomes I make on just electricity bills?

“It came at a bad time, and they (the government) should have sought the opinions of stakeholders and other policy makers before taking that insensitive step. They should have at least put measures in place to cushion the effect before taking that harsh step.”

READ ALSO: Month-Long Power Outage Forces UCH Doctors to Perform Surgeries With Phone Lights

OUR BOSS HAS BEEN NAGGING

Basit Michael (not real name), an employee of a plastic manufacturing company in Ilupeju, Lagos, also spoke to FIJ on the recent increase in electricity tariff.

“When the announcement was first made, we thought it would take a while before we started paying the new amount,” Michael told FIJ.

“We, however, surprisingly discovered that the new tariff had taken effect when our admin officials loaded new units on Thursday.

“When our boss got to hear of the increase, his mood changed. Now, you dare not leave an unused switch on in the office. He has also ordered that the incandescent bulbs in most part of the office premises be changed to LED bulbs.

“According to our boss, the LED bulbs consume less power. He has been nagging since.”

A BAND E CUSTOMERS CONCERN

Idris Awonusi, a resident of Ajegunle in Lagos, addressed the issue from a different angle while speaking with FIJ.

“According to NERC’s categorisation, I am a Band E customer,” Awonusi said.

“I am not sure we even enjoy up to three hours of electricity supply where I stay.

READ ALSO: UCH Unable to Pay Electricity Bills Despite N619m Power Allocation in Last 4 Years

“I sincerely hope the new tariff doesn’t end up affecting those of us the commission has never considered to be their premium customers.

“I decided to make this point because Nigerian agencies love to make life difficult for poor people. They may end up increasing our own tariff as well, though we don’t always get to enjoy constant power.

“As far as I’m concerned, Nigerians, especially the ones in power, always enjoy robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Band A customers are people who enjoy 20–24 hours of electricity supply daily. Band B customers enjoy 16–20 hours of power, while people under Band C enjoy 12–16 hours. Band D enjoy 8–12 hours, and Band E, only 4–8 hours.

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Published 6th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

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