Electricity Distribution companies have warned Nigerians to expect blackouts in the near future, if the Senate does not rescind its directive to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission- to suspend the 45% increase in electricity tariff.
The Senate, had on Tuesday, February 16, directed that the plan to implement the increase in electricity tariff should be stopped.
In spite of the directive, the NERC has however, claimed not to have received any official communication of the Senate’s decision.
Reacting to the developments, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has opposed the Senate’s position, stating that the intervention of the lawmakers could ruin the power sector.
Nigerians were also advised to prepare for blackouts and power cuts in the future if the distribution companies are forced back to the old tariff regime.
The Executive Director, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, revealed that the Senate’s position is not only going to affect the distribution companies but the entire power sector.
He 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.”
Speaking further, Oduntan revealed that the Senate was also indebted to power distribution companies.
“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.”
Oduntan also expressed the readiness of the power firms to sensitize and engage the lawmakers on the need for the new tariffs while revealing that operators in the sector were scheduled to meet with the Senate on Monday, February 22.
“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.”