Power distribution companies have warned the country of an imminent power blackout if the
NERC had in early February announced a new tariff of electricity promising that it will bring about positive change in the supply of power to consumers.
Though the move received an endorsement by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, it also met nationwide criticism especially by the labour unions who staged a protest aimed at forcing a reversal of the new price enforcement.
NERC stated that it had not received any official communication from the National Assembly on the advice to stop the implementation of the revised tariffs.
According to Punch, the Senate had on Tuesday advised 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 should revert to the former rates.
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors feels embarking on such move would be at the detriment of consumers.
The Executive Director, ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, told Punch that the Senate’s sentiment was not just against the electricity distribution firms, but the entire power sector.
According to him, “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.”
Power failure has been a major challenge for both private consumers and businesses, leading to an economic strain and most cost due to the reliance on petrol powered generators.