National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has said that plans by electricity distribution companies to increase tariff was merely a ploy to exploit Nigerians. The union said the increase would not in any way improve electricity supply as they are trying to make the public believe. Disclosing this in Lagos yesterday, General Secretary of NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said tariff increase would not improve electricity supply since power generation is based on gas, which is very expensive.

Lamenting that no single power plant had been constructed in the last seven years, he said the distribution companies were using the increment to exploit Nigerians without enjoying the service.

He emphasised that power generation as at today remained at 4,000 megawatts despite increase in population, adding that as a result of this, the country has continued to be poorly industrialized. Ajaero charged the Federal Government to tell Nigerians why it refused to review the policy after five years. Describing the privatisation as fraudulent, he stressed that electricity distribution companies (Dis- Cos) invested N400 billion in the sector while Federal Government invested N1.7 trillion, but controls 40 per cent equity while operators control 60 per cent. He said the DisCos signed a dubious contract, hence they keep charging Nigerians for their inefficiency.

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“For instance, 90 per cent of transformers supplied by the DisCos are overloaded with no relief plan and one of the agreements is to be changing transformers, but because they want to maxi-mize profit, they refuse to do so,” he said.

The NUEE scribe said the privatisation policy was out to destroy the economy of the nation and to milk Nigerians, saying since the distribution companies took over, nothing has changed. According to him, it is a fraud for government to charge Nigerians with international rate when the country has sources to generate power. He, therefore, pleaded with Nigerians not to pay for inefficiency of the system. He also charged the government to hand over power sector to them for proper management.

The union also accused the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of speaking for the investors and not Nigerians, saying until NERC that is people-oriented takes over, things will remain the same.