Tar­iff hike: Group threat­ens to sue NERC, EEDC

The Punch - - MONEY - ’Femi Asu

Agroup, Igbo Bu Igbo So­cio­cul­tural Foun­da­tion, has threat­ened to sue the Nige­rian elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion and the enugu elec­tric­ity Distri­bu­tion Com­pany Plc over the pro­posed elec­tric­ity tar­iff hike.

NERC had dis­closed last week­end that elec­tric­ity tar­iffs would be in­creased in April.

The group, in a state­ment signed by the Chan­cel­lor, Dr Law Me­for, and Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Chidi Omeje, de­scribed the tar­iff in­crease as ar­bi­trary, in­sen­si­tive, out­ra­geous and il­le­gal.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also de­scribed the pri­vati­sa­tion of the power sec­tor in 2013 as fraud and a sham.

It said, “The new elec­tric­ity tar­iff for the South-east is again the high­est in the coun­try de­spite the rel­a­tive small land mass of the zone, few in­dus­tries and near-ab­sence of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, com­pared to ar­eas like the South-west that is host­ing most in­dus­tries in the coun­try, yet pay­ing far less.

“All fac­tors and in­dices con­sid­ered, the elec­tric­ity tar­iff for the South east is ar­bi­trar­ily fixed. The fig­ures, com­pared to other zones, are not only in­sen­si­tive and il­log­i­cal but also provoca­tive and crim­i­nal.”

The group said Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment the had bailed out the power sec­tor at least twice “without the so-called in­vestors mak­ing any mean­ing­ful fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments in the sec­tor.”

It said, “To bal­ance their sheets and smile to the bank, they trans­fer their whole bur­den to the al­ready over-taxed Nige­ri­ans who are forced to pur­chase their own trans­form­ers and other ma­te­ri­als needed for power.

“Fixed charges are col­lected from Nige­ri­ans even for pe­ri­ods they re­ceive no elec­tric­ity sup­ply with gov­ern­ment do­ing noth­ing about it. We are equally aware that distri­bu­tion com­pa­nies of­ten de­lib­er­ately refuse to pick up stranded elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated since they have ac­cess to free money from stranded Nige­ri­ans.”

“NERC should note that it has grossly dis­ap­pointed Nige­ri­ans for failing to pro­vide gov­er­nance, su­per­vi­sion, en­force­ment and pro­tec­tion of cit­i­zens from the crim­i­nal ex­cesses of gen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies and Dis­cos.”

Ac­cord­ing to the group, power sup­ply has not im­proved mean­ing­fully six years af­ter the pri­vati­sa­tion of the sec­tor.

It said, “Igbo Bu Igbo will not hes­i­tate to drag NERC and eedc to court if the out­ra­geous new tar­iff, es­pe­cially for the South-east, is not re­scinded.”

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