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Power distribution companies have warned that nationwide blackout is imminent if the Senate stands by its decision that the 45% increase in electricity tariffs should be reversed.

Although the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it is yet to receive any official communication from the National Assembly to stop the implementation of the revised tariffs.

The Senate on Tuesday, February 16, asked the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, NERC and the electricity distribution companies not to go ahead with the about 45 per cent increase in tariffs.

But the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) argued that reverting to the old tariff regime is capable of shutting down the power industry completely in the future.

READ: Analyst predicts ineffectiveness of new Electricity Tariff

Speaking to Punch, the Executive Director (ANED) Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said “there is a value chain in this business and the tariff is not just for the Discos. This increment in tariff is for the generation companies and the gas suppliers."

"The gas suppliers are not part of the power sector, but they will not supply gas to our power stations if we don’t pay them.

“So, we’ve been talking about appropriate pricing of this product, and now somebody is playing politics with electricity. It is unacceptable and this has a lot of consequences. The first major consequence is darkness. If there’s no way we can sustain the industry, it will collapse. And now, the generator mafias will be happy because their expensive trade will thrive.

“As it is now, I don’t know who the Senate is working for. If they are working for the Nigerian people, they will not be coming up with things that will have adverse consequences on Nigerians. We are not rich; we are not making profits; we are not smiling to the banks. We view their position with a very strong sense of pity for Nigerians who will bear the consequence.”

He said even the Senate is highly indebted to the power firms and did not talk about clearing its debt to the companies before saying that tariffs should not be increased.

Oduntan added, “People talk of the Discos, but the power sector consists of generation, transmission and distribution companies. We are just the collection agency and I’m shocked that the Senate is not even referring to the debt owed the Discos.

“Many of them don’t pay their electricity bills. But all they are saying now is that we should go back to the dark ages of PHCN/NEPA and that is what will happen if they insist.”

He said it is disappointing that some of the lawmaker who have been educated on this matter, believing they understood the current situation sing another tune when they get to the senate.

“We are more than willing to educate them on this issue. But we are surprised, shocked and disappointed that even some of those that you have met and showed the figures still go back to their hallowed chamber and then talk as if they are in another country,” he noted.

According to Oduntan, the association is supposed to meet with the lawmakers at the senate next Monday, February 22, to educate them on the matter.

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