‘We only get 4-hours of electricity’ – Band A customers seek reversal to old tariff

Electricity users in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, have expressed concern over recent price hike, urging for a reversal or fairer distribution of power.

The increase, amounting to a substantial 240 percent, primarily affects users classified as “Band A” customers.

Despite Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu’s defence, claiming that the hike applies only to those enjoying 20 hours of daily electricity supply, investigations reveal discrepancies in actual supply versus billing.

Adelabu, on April 3, announced an increase in tariffs despite opposition from organised labour.

The federal government, however, stood firm in defending the hike, stating that only 1.5 million out of 12 million users fall under the higher tariff category.

Checks within Port Harcourt’s Elekahia Housing Estate, a blend of residential and business premises, revealed discrepancies between the promised and actual supply.

Residents experiencing only 3 to 4 hours of daily power, have expressed frustration at the inflated bills on their prepaid metres.

A local business owner, Sam Onos, highlighted the detrimental impact of high bills and irregular power supply on profits, echoing economic hardship among affected residents.

While some residents lamented the exacerbation of economic challenges, others expressed willingness to pay the increased tariffs if accompanied by the promised 20 hours of daily power supply.

Efforts to obtain insights from Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) remained unsuccessful, with their media department inaccessible even after 24 hours of contact.

The hike has substantially reduced the purchasing power of N1,000, now affording only four units of electricity compared to the previous twelve units, with a single unit now costing approximately N227.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is making bold statements against the hike, with its Head of Information, Benson Upah, warning of a potential showdown if tariffs are not reverted to previous levels.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Upah emphasised the urgency of the matter.

Echoing this sentiment, Alex Agwanwor, the NLC Rivers State Chairman, underscored the importance of reverting tariffs, citing reasons that included economic hardship, and the implementation of the new minimum wage for workers as proposed by the NLC, among others.

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