Nigerians have protested against the silent increase in electricity tariffs by power distribution companies across the country.
The customers who called the unannounced increment as shocking, said it was worrisome that the Federal Government allowed discos to raise electricity tariff despite the crippling fuel scarcity being experienced in the nation.
Confirming the increase, a power user in Enugu revealed that the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) increased their tariffs again without public notice.
“I recharged N5,000 yesterday but was given 75.2 units instead of the usual 85.51 units”, he stated.
Though, most Nigerians are not aware of the latest increment, Business Hallmark gathered that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had adjusted the tariffs payable to discos, effective December 1, 2022.
This, however, was not announced or published on the website of the regulator as it used to publish it in the past.
Meanwhile, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has said the recent minor electricity tariff adjustment of about 13 per cent reflected current economic realities in the country and was necessary to keep the electricity industry alive.
The Head, Corporate Communications of EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, who disclosed this in Enugu on Sunday, said the tariff rate for Non-MD customers under R2SB class increased from N58.47 to N66.47 per kilowatt.
Ezeh spoke on the sidelines of complaints by some customers over the surprise increase in tariff per kilowatt they noticed which cuts across all categories of customers within the company’s network franchise area in the South-East.
He said that the minor adjustment, which took effect from December 1, 2022, was approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) some months ago across all electricity distribution companies in the country.
According to him, there is a minor adjustment by some percentage across board in the whole electricity distribution companies nationwide currently and it is not peculiar to EEDC alone.
“The minor increase in the rate of tariff approved by NERC is for Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCOs) to meet up with the current economic realities in the power/electricity sector.
“Currently, the sector is seriously affected by the high inflationary rate in the country; as it affects our daily operational maintenance and services to our esteemed customers in our network.
“The issue of high foreign exchange rate is affecting our business too in terms of importing most of our spare parts needed for daily maintenance and repairs in the network.
“The high foreign exchange rate also impact on EEDC ever increasing investment on installations to further expand and fortify the network, leading to the improved services customers are experiencing within the South-East.”
The EEDC spokesman appealed for the understanding of its esteemed customers, adding that if the indices mentioned and other factors “turn positive tomorrow; we belief that NERC will review the tariff downwards.
“The recent development is for us to remain in business, service our customers better and maintain obligations to other stakeholders within the sector/industry,” he added.
However, customers within EEDC network in Enugu have continued to complain that the increase is already tightening the existing economic hardship.
They were of the view that before now, the high inflationary rate of about 22 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), was even affecting how their families feed daily.
A resident of Achara Layout in Enugu, Mr Obinna Nwafor, noted that it was terrible that the residents cannot get any economic respite; “as there are so many struggles to survive in the country.
“I wish this increase has not come now; so that at least we can have a sector that is relatively stable and not being affected by the nationwide inflationary trend”.
Also, a resident of Uwani axis of Enugu metropolis, Mr Jude Onyia, urged EEDC to consider those in the lower categories of their tariff line and exclude them from the increase.
“It is clear that those of us in the low category of the tariff cannot easily meet up and other alternatives to electricity are quite costly too”, Onyia said.