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Obonga criticizes government over electricity tariff hike



In response to the recent increase in electricity tariffs by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Uket Obonga, the national secretary of the Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria (NECAN) and lead director of Energy Consumers Consultancy Services (ECCS), expressed his concerns. Obonga believes that the hike in electricity tariffs is a clear indication that the government, under President Bola Tinubu, is disconnected from the reality faced by the citizens.

NERC approved the hike in electricity prices for Band A customers from N66 to N225 per kilowatt, affecting urban areas with 20 hours of power supply, resulting in a 300% increase in costs amidst a decrease in power supply nationwide.

Obonga stated that simply increasing tariffs will not address the liquidity crisis and other challenges prevalent in Nigeria’s power sector. He criticized the government for lacking the innovation and capability needed to tackle the issues faced in the country’s power sector.

He called for a review of the performance of electricity distribution companies in meeting customer obligations and suggested pricing locally sourced gas in naira rather than US dollars.

Obonga emphasized the need for a more holistic approach, stating, “Increasing the tariff to N1000 per kWh will not solve the problem as long as the DISCOs remain rent seekers/collectors.”

He also highlighted the importance of denoting gas prices in naira due to the localized sourcing and processing of gas for electricity generation, urging the government to intervene in ensuring a fixed rate for gas processors.

Moreover, amidst challenges faced by electricity consumers nationwide, including erratic power supply since January, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, attributed the drop in power supply to gas constraints.

While Nigerians bear the brunt of the tariff hikes, Adelabu remains optimistic, assuring consumers that improvements are on the horizon.