Customers of the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) and consumers of electricity have expressed outrage over the significant rise in their tariff rate, above the N4 maximum stated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
NERC, which approved the tariff for the DisCos, said on Tuesday that the hike was between N2 and N4, but a cross section of consumers who had recharged their meters recently, insisted the increase was above N4.
A twitter user, Richard Daniel under Port Harcourt DisCo, said he often gets 153.9 units when he recharges his meter with N5000 worth of token. However, that has reduced to 88 units now, when he vended last week, indicating 42 per cent increase.
Shamsudeen Ibrahim, a resident in Abuja under Abuja DisCo, said previously, N10,000 vending got him 386 units as of November but he only got N197 units recently.
“That is about a 49 per cent increase. We are just being deceived that the increment is not more than N4.”
John Okon said he had expected 38 units for vending of N1,000 but got 19 units instead, showing a 50 per cent increase.
Another customer, who also spent N10,000 and had expected 380 units said he was shocked to get less than that. “Just less than two weeks ago, the unit after the increment for N10,000 was 120 units, which is around 68 per cent hike.”
Mr. Precious Abu, a barber shop owner in Kuje area of FCT said he used to get about 118 units for N3000 before the previous increase but it has dropped.
Mrs. Bolanle Ojo in the same area operating a cold room store, lamented the hike. “Before, I bought N1,000 and I got 38 units but now I get 19 units. It is not good for our business, I must confess.”
In Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Gowon Joel, said previously, he was getting 63 units for N2,000 under Jos DisCo, but on Wednesday when he recharged his meter, he got 57 units for N3000, signifying a drop to 38 units for N2,000.
Tor Acka, a resident, along Gboko road in the state, said he got 35 units for N2000 on Monday as against the 65 units he got in the previous months.
In Lafia, Nasarawa State, a consumer said his usual 114.48 unit of token of N3,000 has dropped to 67 units.
In Osogbo, Osun State, Mr Opeyemi Bello, a civil servant lamented the hike. “The unit I got is half of the previous ones. Last year, with N1,000, I received 36 units but this January, the N1,000 electricity is just 15 units.”
Albert Uba, publisher of Crime World Magazine in Lagos bought N5000 worth of electricity tokens but got less than what he got previously.
Another Lagos resident, Ibrahim Basirat, said with N5,000, she gets 213 units but that she recharged N2,500 on her meter on Tuesday and got 99.9kWh units. She said 13.2 units went off due to the increase.
In Taraba State, Mallam Yakubu Musa said consumers under the estimated billing will bear the wrath of the new hike. He said artisans like welders, barbers, and millers would be affected the most as their businesses have declined this season, and may force them to close shop.
Bulus Galadima said almost 95 per cent of electricity consumers in the state do not have meters and are compelled to pay bills under the estimated billing, which he said was exploitative under Yola DisCo.
President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network (NCPN), Mr Kunle Olubiyo, a consumer rights activist in Abuja, said: “It has been on tariff increase and how to sustain crazy bills with no service improvement, no customer-centric culture or core values.
“The electricity market structure does not provide consumers and all classes of end users the rights to alternatives or choices.”
Olubiyo noted that the huge salaries and allowances of NERC commissioners do not justify their efforts in regulating the power sector, adding that, “customers are bearing the cost of inefficiencies.”
However NERC has urged customers to file complaints of increment. “Any customer that has been impacted by any rate increases beyond the above provision of the tariff order (between N2 and N4) should report to the Commission.”