Electricity Consumers in Lagos have denounced the hike in billings effective from June 1.
The consumers censured the increase in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). They described the hike as insensitive to the plight of people who are struggling for means of livelihood due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, they affirmed that there had been improvement in electricity supply which had made them reduced their spending on fuel.
The hike, which was initially planned for April 1, was suspended by the National Assembly for deliberation.
Mr Joseph Ogu, Director, Joe Tech Engineering and Construction Ltd., said the hike would further increase overhead cost of production and exert economic pressure on people.
In his view, hiking the tariff this time will reduce job intake as cost of production will increase resulting in some hired workers being dropped as overhead increases.
“The economy and people are still trying to come out of the coronavirus pandemic; anything in that direction now will portray government in bad light.
“Though the energy sector is being run by private companies, people do not know this and will still look in the direction of the state for solutions and will cast aspersions on the state for any ill-treatment from the sector,” he said.
Ogu petitioned the electricity companies to suspend the plan in order for Nigerians to recover from the effect of COVID-19, which had made life difficult for people these past three months.
Mr Anthony Ibezim, a bottled water producer, said people were relying on the two months free electricy that was to be granted by government as part of the palliative for coronavirus pandemic.
“So many people are finding it difficult to pay the current charges and here we are, talking of an upward review.
“This is some of the things that alienates people from their government that gives rise to citizens disregarding the state.
”It is appalling for the state to keep churning out policies that will see people in despair,” he said.
Ibezim said that his electricity bill in the water factory was in the region of N65,000 monthly, which he struggles to pay in addition to other running cost.
He said with the planned increment, he might pay up to N100, 000 per month, adding that for him to cope, he might lay off some staff and also increase price of bottled water.
Ibezim also expressed that he was yet to see any reason for the tariff hike, considering the number of hours people enjoy power supply in a day.
He said that if there were any need at all to hike tariff, such plan should be cross-checked, so that hardship in the society does not get out of hand.