Electricity tariffs hike just another way to increase hardship for Nigerians –Engr. Adebiyi Adeyeye, NUEE President

For the President of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Engineer Adebiyi Adeyeye, without mincing words, the recent hike in the tariff of electricity in the country is just another plot by the Government to further impoverish the masses.

Hence he has declared that it is not acceptable to the union and calling for total reversal and dialogue with stakeholders.

In this interview, Adeyeye who describes as scam, the classification into bands by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said government has failed in all ramifications to address the increases of commodities and all ways of livelihood of Nigerian Workers.

He also reiterates the union’s position that there has been no significant development in the sector since the privatisation of the distribution and generation arms 13 years ago.

Adeyeye speaks more on the need for the sector to be managed by professionals, reasons why the government should not privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and other vital issues in the sector


Recent tariff hike

As a union, we frown at the tariff hike. There should have been a proper consultation to ensure all stakeholders were involved. The way and manner the electricity tariff hike was done recently in Nigeria is not acceptable to us.

Government defence

First of all, if you watch critically what we have been expressing in the power sector, especially after the privatisation of the distribution and generation stations, you will discover that there has been no significant development in the sector.

If you look critically, you observe that nothing is working well. The generation is not improving. Likewise, the distribution is not giving enough supply to customers. The way we see it is just another way to increase the hardship for Nigerians. The rising cost of electricity directly impacts households. Talk about businesses, the increased cost and electricity translates to higher production costs, and this can lead to a lot of situation in Nigeria that we may not be able to manage.

As a Union, it is honestly not acceptable to us. It appears that it is just to serve the interest of some people.

Government plans to revoke licence of gencos and discos managed by banks

If I am to speak on this, I will go back to the time these companies were privatised. These companies have been in operation since 2013. What has been the improvement since then?

Take the tariff increase, for example, it has been increased several times over time, Yes, not a meaningful thing has been done to improve the productivity of these Discos. All we hear is talks of them being indebted and having loans in different places. Most of these Discos you’re talking about are not even improving in terms of technology. We find it difficult to see even ordinary poles in their networks. They have taken the place of shame in the power sector.

However if you talk about the revocation of their licences, you would have to assess the level of impact it will have on our members. But the truth is that Nigeria must progress. We cannot remain the same. Things are deteriorating every day.

So in my own opinion, I would support a better hand that can manage those Companies to come on board, instead of us staying the same way where there is no significant improvement.

Government’s plan to privatise transmission

We are still battling with the ones they privatised 13 years ago. It is out of place for government to be talking about privatising transmission right now. We should learn from Germany and other developed societies; how do they manage transmission. We should ask ourselves some questions about transmission. What is the present wheeling capacity of transmission that we have.

Take a look at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the wheeling capacity is almost 12,000 megawatts, but Generation we’re talking about is less than 5000 megawatts.

The transmission is not doing well currently, it is also affected by the capacity of generation. As a union, privatisation of the transmission is not the first thing the government is supposed to do. They should first of all see what we can do to revamp this Discos. Let there be serious people that is ready to do this work and see the way that we can improve supply to Nigeria.

Mitigating the effects of the current tarrif increase

We have sent a lot of information ahead concerning this. However, at this point, I would advise Nigerians not to keep quiet. They should raise voice with us because we see it as pure injustice. Together, if Nigerians are ready, they can see it as a common cost fight.

The last time we issued a letter to the Ministry of Power concerning the tariff hike, it was just to condemn it. One, because there was no proper consultation about it. Secondly, we let them realise the fact that it is very impossible for our members to go out and collect such revenue.

Nigerians rely on electricity for their daily needs and there is no way to not affect everybody. We have tried our best and will not stop trying to ensure that government comes to a roundtable with us to discuss the best way forward.

As for NERC, I do not understand why they would implement a hike at this point. For us, the adjustment is very untimely and should not be now when Nigeria is in serious economic crisis.

We’re still pleading for us to sit together and see how we can work out the best way for revenue collection, not just jumping from that amount to a higher amount.

Closing the metering gap

When you look at situations that surrounds this discourse, you will see that there is insincerity in metering some customers. You discover that more than 60% of their customers are not even metered. And without this metres, how do you ascertain the actual consumption of your customers? That is the question that we do ask. It is even worse that some of these consumers have paid for metres, but are yet to receive them. A lot of people are paying very huge amounts to secure these metres. But yet you discover that they’re not getting them. It is the duty of this private organisations to ensure that all these customers are metered properly. If it is done, you discover that even to collect their revenue would be very easy.


Let it be known that non-technical professionals can never make a valuable contribution to the success of Nigeria’s power sector. The classification  into bands is very wrong.

How do you differentiate one band customer from the other? If I were a driver living in an apartment equally close to my boss. How do you put me in the same band as my boss, of whom my salary is way below his, how do I pay.

They knew the reason why they did that classification. Are you supplying different countries at a time?

The call for all these bands is well known to them, but to us it is a scam. It is technically wrong.

Other challenges confronting the union.

There are a lot of other issues that we have been facing. A situation whereby we have a non-technical staff, those who are not professionals, working in technical oriented places. You cannot have good results. We have been advocating for a very long time for the welfare of our members. We need proper training and even for those who are well trained, they are not being given the right incentives or the right places to work.

imports of people who are not properly technically trained occupying positions that are meant for trained individuals. For example, asking a banker to operate in a switchyard or make decisions on what is core distribution of electricity.

This is a serious challenge to us. Another problem is the challenge of having to meet targets. How do you meet targets in this kind of economy?

Reforms or practical solutions

It is a critical situation we find ourselves, especially in a country like this. But let me use Germany again as an example. They have a very long history of supporting renewable energy through so many ways. It would be a great idea if Nigeria can explore other ways of generating electricity. It is possible.

Also, this is the sector where you need to carry all stakeholders along. you do not just wake up in the morning and make a decision. If the government is ready, they should call all stakeholders to the table and see how we can find solution to the problems in the sector.


The reason will are facing such challenges was because these companies were under private hands.  But we do believe that the laws that  guide us as a union has empowered us to ensure that members that belongs to us are truly for us.

We have a constitution. We’re not just operating as a union. I assure you that we have formed a committee that will ensure that all these cases are solved and that we have our members intact.

Complete privatisation of the sectors

I would not advise governments to move for the privatisation of TCNs because what has been the outcome of the sector that was privatized in the past.

And the agreement with the Discos initially that if they do not perform optimally, their licences would be revoked… Have you done that?

It’s critical because presently it is not the right step for us to take. It would bring more hardship to Nigerians and cause more commotion in the power sector.

Discos today, is the major challenge that the power sector is facing in discharging electricity to consumers.

Workers under the new administration

Workers are really faring very poor. We are committed to workers welfare and when you look at what Nigerian workers are experiencing right now, honestly, it is as poor as anything. The government has failed in all ramifications to address the increases of commodities and all ways of livelihood of Nigerian Workers.

We are crying out to the government to come to our aid, especially for the distribution sector.

Assistance to members

We are working on reviewing our condition of service we have signed already with the management of some of our stations. For those who have not reviewed, we are pressing further so that they will. We are also agitating for the increase in their salaries, allowance and incentives. It is a thing of shame seeing our members passing through hell. That is why we are agitating.

Repositioning the union

The first is proper consultation. This will prevent violation of existing protocols and keep one well informed. This will also ensure proper discharge of our product which is electricity to Nigerians, because we all need electricity at this critical time. And like I have said before, it is not possible for us to have positive results with non-technical professionals running it.

We have started our consultation with everyone under the sector. We want them to see and regard us as a major stakeholder in order for us to deliver the best to the country.

Scorecard of the new administration

If the government fails to address the rising cost of electricity in Nigeria, we as NUEE will not hesitate to take strong actions; which is withdrawing our members from service. This is because imposing tariff on Nigerians would make it more difficult for our members to work.

Though the present administration means well for Nigerians especially in the power sector. If you remember, there was an announcement when the position of power sector reform act 2023 as amended which demonstrates the goodwill of the government. Our hope should not be bashed as we are expecting something good soon.

What is workers expectations for the May Day?

As regard the May Day celebration, I implore everyone to see it as a beacon of hope. I can assure that the current administration will not look at workers without touching their lives amid the economic hardship. Nigerians would smile soon.

Source: The Sun


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