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NLC, TUC Gives NERC Deadline To Reverse Electricity Tariff Increase




The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), are demanding that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) withdraw the recent electricity tariff hike by May 12 or face severe industrial action.

Naija News reports that the NERC recent announcement of a modest reduction in the electricity tariff for Band A customers from ₦225/kWh to ₦206.80/kWh has been widely rejected across the country.

The reduction, which the NERC attributes to the naira’s appreciation against the dollar, has not quelled the dissatisfaction among various stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

In a joint letter dated May 3, 2024, addressed to the Chairman/CEO of NERC, copies were sent to various government officials, including the SGF and the Ministers of Labour and Power, as well as the electricity distribution companies (DisCos).

The letter was signed by Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, Presidents of NLC and TUC, respectively.

The letter read: “This is to refer you to our May Day address where we expressed grave concerns regarding the recent announcement of an astronomical hike in electricity tariff across the nation from N65/kWh to N225/Kwh by your commission.

‘’We believe that this decision is not just morally reprehensible considering the difficulties Nigerians are faced with currently, but it blatantly disregards fundamental principles and statutory obligations.

‘’It is a slap in the face of justice and fairness, and we will not stand idly by as the masses and workers are subjected to such unacceptable exploitation.

“As the regulator of the electricity sector, it is imperative that your commission grasps the weight of its responsibilities. NERC’s role entails the regulation of electricity tariffs in the country, a duty outlined in explicit detail within the statutes governing the commission.

‘’Yet, with this recent tariff hike which you have acquiesced, it is evident that the Commission has forsaken its duty and abandoned the people it was meant to protect to the fat cats in the electricity industry.

“We are miffed that NERC has become a tacit collaborator in crafting the oppressive pricing regime being perpetuated against Nigerian workers and people. The Laws that set up the commission mandate it to act as an unbiased ombudsman in the electricity industry.

‘’Unfortunately, the reverse is the case as it has acted in cahoots with the Distribution Companies, DisCos and the Generating Companies, GenCos, to promote their nefarious market practices.

“The announced tariff hike not only defies the established procedure mandated by law but also tramples upon the rights of Nigerian citizens. It is a flagrant abuse of power and a clear violation of the trust bestowed upon your commission by the Nigerian people. Such actions will not be tolerated, and we refuse to accept them as the new norm.

“Nigerian workers and masses led by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, stand united in denouncing this injustice. We must defend the rights of our fellow citizens against exploitation.

“Therefore, we demand an immediate reversal of the hike in electricity tariff to N65/kwh, immediate cessation of the discriminatory practice of segregating electricity consumers into arbitrary bands, and restoration of the supremacy of the statutes governing the conduct of operators within the electricity industry.

“We give you until Sunday, May 12, 2024, to comply. Failure to do so will result in swift and decisive action on our part as we will not hesitate to mobilize our members and occupy all NERC’s offices and those of the DisCos nationwide until justice is served.