The Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE) has said that the failure of the privatization policy to revive the power sector calls for a socialist programme of re-nationalization of the power sector.
Indeed, the group stated that the sector should be under the transparent and democratic control of the working masses as a means of ensuring massive investment, efficiency, affordable tariff and uninterrupted power supply, adding that they reject the newly introduced Meter Asset Provider Regulations (MAPR) policy and the plan to hike tariff because they are anti-poor policies.
The Group’s Coordinator, Chinedu Bosah, stated that the current cost of pre-paid meters is not affordable for the vast majority because of the poor purchasing power and poverty, adding that it would not fundamentally achieve the aim of closing the metering gap.
According to the Group, the assurance government gave before it privatized the power sector was that it would bring about efficiency, lower tariff and bring in massive investment but noted that more than five years down the line, the crises run deep.
“Overwhelmingly, many electricity consumers are forced to pay outrageous and unwarranted estimated bills; facilities and power infrastructure remain in a deplorable state, inability of the power companies to invest to turn around the sector and poor working conditions of electricity workers, and the Discos rejecting power due to profit motive.
“The consequence is widespread darkness in many communities, load-shedding and epileptic power supply leading to a situation where, in the country with a population of about 200 million people gets a paltry 4000 MW averagely”, it added.
The Group noted that it was far more profitable for the DISCOs to bill customers based on estimation than through actual consumption measured by meter.
They alleged that DISCOs have largely abandoned the reading of post-paid meters to sustain the issuance of unwarranted estimated bills.
“Despite that the current tariff regime is unaffordable for the vast majority, the Distribution Companies are demanding for an upward review of tariff so that consumers pay so much for poor supply and the government is working towards achieving a tariff hike as a means of appeasing the so-called investors.
“Since the last tariff hike of 45 per cent on February 2016, the state of facilities/infrastructure remains obsolete because as usual, the power companies have failed to invest thereby leaving many communities in blackout. Hence, if there is another tariff hike, more burdens will be added to the lot of the working people and it is not even a guarantee that the power companies will invest to improve the sector.