Electricity stakeholders including consumers, marketers, non-governmental organizations, social groups, community representatives from some states of the Southwest on Friday in Ibadan warned the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) to shelve its proposed plan of increasing tariffs of power supply of face forceful rejection of the plans.

The stakeholders who vent their anger and displeasure at the company spoke in their various remarks during a public hearing facilitated on the proposed electricity tariff hike by the company

The distribution company had applied to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for an upward review of tariff, which made the NERC called on electricity consumers within the coverage areas of the IBEDC to a public hearing at Jogor Centre, Ibadan.

The IBEDC presented reasons for possible review of the tariff to the stakeholders at the event but which seem not convincing enough to attract the cooperation of the consumers.

READ ALSO:Consumers reject new electricity tariff

The Chairman of the panel of NERC, Commissioner Musiliu Olalekan Oseni in his welcome address had explained to the stakeholders the importance of collating their input before reaching a final decision on the proposed tariff hike.

Oseni had hardly finished his welcome address when consumers started presenting their complaints about the unsatisfactory performance of IBEDC in the distribution of energy.

Almost all the statistics churned out by IBEDC through Mr Deolu Ijose were faulted by the consumers which led to some heated argument among the electricity consumers.

Though, IBEDC listed its myriad of problems why it could not meet the electricity demands of the people, its claim that unless the tariff was increased, the distribution company would not be able to perform as expected, was rubbished by the consumers.

According to Ijose, the challenges in the sector include the purchase of energy which was pegged at N9.7 since 2015; loss of N38.9bn in 2019; need to repay loan borrowed from the Central Bank of Nigeria; shortfall in collection of tariff running into N81bn and stealing of energy among others.

He proposed that a new tariff of over N31 would be charged.

Reacting to the proposal, Mr Ololade Hamzat Adebimpe from Oyo Parapo argued there was no need for tariff increase but that the IBEDC should ensure supply of prepaid meter and block all loopholes through which some of its staff plunder the funds meant for the company.

Other speakers like Abiodun Bamigboye, a human right activist, Adebayo Adegbite,from Initiative for Sustainable Infrastructure Development;  and Alhaji Yusuf Adebayo from Monatan all concluded that there was no need for tariff increase.

All the stakeholders in their remarks said if the service is improved, the people will not have issues paying, faulting the perceived unreadiness of the company to make prepaid metre available for the teeming consumers seeking to purchase.

They also accused the NERC of not doing enough to protect the interest of consumers with the huge volume of complains from the consumers with the regulatory agency leaving the consumers in the dark over the years.

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