24 July 2015, Port Harcourt – The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company on Thursday unveiled a plan for the gradual increase in electricity tariff for its customers over the next 10 years.
The company’s Head Customers Service, Dr. Godwin Orovwiroro, said this in Calabar, Cross River State, during a public consultation on tariff review.
Orovwiroro said the new system would see an increase in tariff every two years for five years, after which the increase would stabilise and customers would begin to pay less.
“There will be an initial rise in tariff but when more operators come into the business, it will likely crash. What you will lose in the first two years, you will actually recover in a few years, because then, there will be competition and the tariff regime will either come down or stabilise,” he said.
Orovwiroro said that energy generation was influenced by the macroeconomic factors and outlined some of the challenges facing the distribution company to include vandalism, energy theft, illegal connections and obsolete equipment.
He added that some people who were caught perpetrating some of these economic crimes were being arrested and prosecuted.
According to him, the company has undertaken some measures to reposition its operations in order to serve the consumers better.
Some customers, including one Mr. John Aniefiok, observed that they were paying for energy not consumed as a result of fixed charges by the company.
However, Orovwiroro said no customer would be allowed to pay for energy not consumed, advising those affected to write official complaints so that their monies could be returned.
“If you do not have electricity supply for 15 days, you should not be charged the fix charge. If you have been charged for the period that your transformer was bad, you can come to our customer care unit so that we can adjust your meter and remove the excess charge,” he said.
He debunked claims that the PHEDC abandoned consumers to their fate whenever transformers got bad, saying that customers were rather always in a hurry to contribute money to repair the transformers.
Also speaking, the Manager, Corporate Communications, PHEDC, Mr. Jonah Iboma, noted that the convocation of the forum was ordered by the regulatory body of electricity companies to discuss issues bothering on electricity tariffs with the customers.
Iboma said the distribution companies now had skilled workers to handle issues as they developed as against what was obtainable during the era of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.