(From Joy Mbachi, NAN)
Some Resident’s in Anambra capital city, Awka, have criticised the recent increase in electricity tariff payable by power consumers across the country in the first month of the year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who sampled the views of residents on the increase on Wednesday reports that the consumers said that the increase would affect the living standard of the people in the negative.
Mr Marcel Ofor, a respondent, said that the increase at the beginning of the year when lots of spending had been made was insensitive to the hardship it would attract to the people.
Ofor said that welfare of the people should be in the mind of policy makers at all times so as not to create chaotic situations in lives of the citizens.
Mrs Betty Enekwechi, a teacher, said that approval for the hike in tariff was given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in 2020 but it should have been implemented later in the year.
‘We just entered the year after the festive era, we are faced with house rent, school fees home maintainance and restocking. The timing is wrong,’ she said
Enekwechi said that the government should consider increase in salaries of the people so as to make life bearable for the citizens.
Mr Chiadi Anatune said that in September 2020 the commission raised electricity tariff but it was faced with stiff opposition by the organised labour as the unions threatened a nationwide strike.
Anatune said that government should reason with the people in decision making that would be harsh on the people’s standard of living.
‘Everybody needs lights to at least enjoy a comfortable living, do businesses amongst other living activities, government should encourage the poor to live,’ he said
Mr Chibuikem Okeke commended the Federal Government in its efforts to supply constant electricity to the people and urged the public to see that it is for the common good.
NAN reports that the increase on electricity tariff varies and is based on different consumer classes, and the increase took effect from Jan 1, 2021.
NERC had announced the 50 per cent tariff hike in its December 2020 minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order and Minimum Remittance Order excluding only consumers receiving for the lowest supply hour per day.
NAN reports that the commission also stated that the new tariff would be effective until June while a Cost Reflective Tariff would be activated from June to December 2021.
Also the commission had stated in December 2020 that it was carrying out a review for another tariff, hence the latest order announcing an increase in the rates payable by consumers.