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Akwa Ibom electricity consumers kick against new tariff regime

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Electricity consumers in Akwa Ibom State have kicked against further increases in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DisCos) saying that Nigerians could no longer afford further pressure on an already stifling economy.

This was the outcome of a meeting put together by the Cordinator, Human Rights Community, Clifford Thomas, and Chairman, of Akwa Electricity Consumers Forum, One Udoh,  in Uyo, during the weekend.

They also disagreed with the notion that the Federal Government has been paying subsidy on electricity tariff in Nigeria, describing it as a scam.

A communique at the end of the meeting in Uyo, called for the rights of electricity consumers to be respected while all consumers must be metered with the state government guaranteeing them by putting modalities in place to pay for and recoup such investments as social and welfare services.

The consumers appealed to the state government to establish electricity-utilising profit-making entities that would generate, transmit and distribute power most efficiently and transparently with proper disconnection notices issued and served by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) before disconnecting consumers, who also now have the legal right to sue electricity companies.

According to them, “we don’t want the current situation where the DisCos hide what they claim to be noticed under another subhead. The intention of such acts by the PHED is criminal and must be opposed and resisted. PHED must comply with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, connection and disconnection procedures.

“Electricity consumers in Akwa Ibom State are hereby advised not to pay for any unscrupulous bills imposed in the name of estimated bills by the PHED. Once an electricity consumer contests and challenges any bill, the rule is that he must not pay it until issues surrounding the bills are resolved.

“The distribution companies can now sue and can be sued. The case of Francis N. Ekwere versus PHED in suit No. HU/203/2018, which was decided in the Uyo Judicial Division of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State before Justice Aniekan Akpan, readily comes in handy on how to sue and win electricity distribution companies in Nigeria. This matter has not been appealed and so, serves as a judicial precedent.

“We disagree with the notion that there was or is, subsidy paid by the government on electricity tariff in Nigeria. The distribution companies are profit-making organisations, whose major aims include making profits”.

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