New Electricity Tariff: Taking Nigerians For A Ride


There seems to be no limit to the yoke Nigerians are forced to bear as the Federal  Government is resolute about implementing a new anti-people electricity pricing regime  next month without improving the dismal electricity supply in the country.

Prof. Barth Nnaji, Adviser on Power to President Goodluck Jonathan, gave the hint in an  interview with Reuters. He said: “pricing and regulatory issues are being sorted out and  should be completed next month,” adding that government “will then be able to provide the  appropriate information to buyers as to what tariffs they can expect. The  market-determined plan will replace subsidised prices where consumers pay N6 ($0.04) a  kilowatt.”

Although the new pricing policy is designed to make the power sector more attractive to  investors, electricity consumers will be worse off because they will continue to be at  the receiving end of the shoddy services rendered by Power Holding Company of Nigeria,  PHCN.

Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief when President Jonathan announced at an elaborate  ceremony in Lagos on 26 August this year that the Federal Government had concluded plan  to end its monopoly of power supply and distribution by allowing private investors to get  involved in the sector. We expected that the private investors would conclude the  contract signing with the Federal Government, hit the road running and prove to Nigerians  that they can deliver the goods before the government increases the tariff paid by  electricity consumers. The reverse is now the case as the government is eagerly planning  to implement the new tariff when electricity supply is still annoyingly unreliable and  sometimes consumers do without electricity supply for days. They rely on generators to  meet their power supply needs and at a huge cost.

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It is only in Nigeria that consumers are made to pay for services they do not enjoy. It  is only in Nigeria that PHCN could cook up crazy bills and force electricity consumers to  pay. We all know that PHCN is another name for failure and ineptitude and the epileptic  power supply is often cited by Nigerians as one of the yardsticks for measuring the  country’s abysmal failure.

If President Jonathan has the wellbeing of Nigerians at heart, he should defer the new  pricing regime and allow PHCN to improve electricity supply considerably before  implementing it. In the alternative, the new tariff being contemplated should come into  effect only when the private sector has fully taken charge and provided uninterrupted  electricity supply to Nigerians.

Electricity consumers have had enough punishment from PHCN and imposing a heavier yoke on  the people through the new tariff is an unacceptable assault. The government should stop  putting the cart before the horse. We can’t swallow the bitter pill about to be forced  down our throats. The Federal Government should stop testing the capacity of Nigerians to  endure further punishment from inept PHCN. Nigerians are no fools to be taken for a ride  all the time by insensitive government officials.

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