Port Harcourt — Electricity workers have commended the National Assembly for its intervention in the proposed increment of electricity tariff, which was supposed to take effect from today, July 1, 2020.
Recall that the National Assembly on Monday waded into the controversy surrounding the planned hike in electricity tariffs and succeeded in convincing electricity distribution companies, Discos, to defer the plan till the first quarter of 2021.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other principal officers of the two chambers had met with the Chief Executives of all government’s electricity regulatory bodies and Discos across the country.
Speaking on the development, electricity workers under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, described NASS intervention as a sigh of relief to its members.
Assistant General Secretary of SSAEAC, Innocent Lord-Douglas, explained that electricity workers would have been badly assaulted and attacked by angry consumers, if the planned tariff increment was implemented.
Lord-Douglas emphasised that the labour union was not concerned on how much profit Discos stand to make from the proposed tariff increment, but on the safety and lives of the members who would be on the streets, to mobilise bill collection and enforce disconnection.
According to him, “The people seen on the streets by consumers are ordinary Disco workers who are our members. Consumers don’t know the executives or management of these Discos, an average consumer doesn’t know NERC office. Consumers do not know that the Disco is not the worker on the street distributing bills or disconnecting erring customers.
“Electricity distribution companies are no longer a federal parastatal, it’s now a private business that contract some persons to work for them. Unfortunately consumers go about unleashing mayhem on these innocent workers.”
The union heartily thanked the National Assembly for steps taken to stop the planned tariff increment, while expressing optimism of an alternative policy as regards the tariff between now and 2021.
“We heaved a sigh of relief because our members will be safe within this period of time and we believe that between now and the first quarter of 2021 as being proposed, something good will happen.
“Either the economy would have been revamped, which will make consumers overlook the increment in electricity tariff, or the Federal Government would bring another policy on this issue.
“But it is a welcome development that the policy has been suspended for now.”