Sunday, February 21, 2016

Consumer rights urge Fashola to obey court order, NASS over ‘no tariff increase’

The Consumer Rights Advancement Organisation (CRADO) has urged the Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to obey court order and the National Assembly (NASS) to stop tariff increase on electricity services in the country, reports ITRealms.

President of CRADO, Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo told ITRealms that just last week, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organisations  (CSOs) and some Non-Governmental Organisations  (NGOs) held a nation-wide protest against non-metering of electricity consumers and the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariffs announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

He said that in view of the fact that meter is the contract equipment between the electricity company and the electricity consumer, the electricity distribution companies have continued to exploit Nigerians by the estimated and crazy billing system for majority of consumers, while deliberately refusing to make available, prepaid meters.

“As there has been no significant improvement in service delivery, most consumers are also not metered in accordance with the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of November 1, 2013, which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers must have been metered,” he said.

Noting that there are meter manufacturers in Nigeria producing all types of meters, various types of Smart Meters and Transformers with the approval of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria  (SON).

CRADO described as highly unlawful and a flagrant abuse of consumer rights, for electricity consumers to pay the new tariff before getting the meters. Wondering why should electricity tariff increase when the extant law for such increment was not followed in consonance with section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.

The Senate, he said, last Tuesday, told NERC to stop the 45 per cent tariff increase being implemented by electricity distribution companies.

“This increase makes it the fourth time that electricity tariffs will be up after the privatisation of the power sector about two and half years ago. Their excuse has always been that they want to improve on the electricity. The government at a time gave loans to distribution and generation companies to buy meters and give to customers,” CRADO said.

Before this increment, CRADO noted, Nigerians have been paying the highest tariff per kilo-watt in Africa and contiguous regions. We pay much higher than Egypt and countries with stronger economies.

The group insisted that Minister Fashola obey the subsisting ‘No Increase in Electricity Tariff’ Court Order of 28th May, 2015 by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos. 

“The second is to negotiate with financial institutions to put more into their investments 
in the power business so that electricity generation can hit 7,500 MW and the third is to ensure that ALL Electricity Consumers are metered,” he said, emphasising that if these three things are done, people will not mind paying bills for the resultant Pay-As-You-Use electricity service.

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