A leading pan-Igbo organization, Igbo Bu Igbo Sociocultural Foundation, has rejected the new electricity tariff proposed by NERC for the Southeast in particular and the rest of the country in general, describing it as arbitrary, insensitive, outrageous and illegal.
NERC had announced that Enugu Electricity Distribution Company residential (R3) customers that were paying N27.11 per unit in 2015 are to now pay N48.12 per unit, one of the highest hikes across the country.
In a statement signed the Chancellor, Dr. Law Mefor, and Secretary General, Chidi Omeje, the Ibu Bu Igbo group described the privatisation in the power sector as fraud and a sham.
The statement read in parts: “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 Federal Government presence 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, is not only insensitive and illogical but also provocative and criminal.
“The Federal Government has bailed out the power sector at least twice without the so-called investors making any meaningful financial investments in the sector. 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 DISCOs often deliberately refuse to pick up stranded electricity generated since they have access to free money from stranded Nigerians.
“Igbo bu Igbo is also aware of the replacement of stand-alone prepaid meters with dubious Smart meters and more worrisome is why this opaque practice applies only to the Southeast
“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 GENCOs and DISCOs.”
Igbo Bu Igbo further wondered what value the investors have added to the power sector since electricity supply has not meaningfully improved 6 years down the line except to describe them as “mere paper investors”.
The group further stated that the Federal Government needed to take another look at the whole exercise with a view to possibly reversing the entire exercise for value creation and humane pricing.
“Compared to privatisation in the communications sector, six years is more than enough to demonstrate seriousness and produce dividends for the huge government investment in the sector.
“Igbo Bu Igbo will not hesitate to drag NERC and EEDC to court if the outrageous new tariffs especially for the Southeast is not rescinded,” the statement concluded.