By Tina Amanda

Organized labour Rivers State has demanded a reversal of the old electricity tariff plan.

The Labour Congress made the demand while picketing Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company PHEDC and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission Rivers State.

Speaking at the picketing ground, State Chairman Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Alex Agwanwor, condemned the new tariff while noting that it is a way of discriminating other electricity users.

“In as much as we want more power supply we do not want it to be discriminated. We are now seeing a case where they take from the poor and give to the rich.

“It is very obvious that what NERC is doing is give power to those who they feel can pay and those who cannot pay they put them in darkness. We are all Nigerians we have equal rights to power, they should not discriminate against who gets power and who does not.

“We are asking the federal government to call NERC to order the tariff plan to be changed, they should reverse the old 25KW tariff and let everybody have equal plan tariff.

“Power should be provided for everyone because this new power plan is not working. Even those that are on band A power plan are not getting 20 hours of power supply and they are being billed for the ‘band A’ amount.

“What kind of injustice is this, what kind of country are we? We can not continue in this way, we are putting a stop to it.

“We have had a volume of complaints mostly from our members who are working under them, that go out there to collect the tariff from the public. They are being harassed at different levels, and some are beaten to death.

“We want PHED and NERC to look into this. Let Nigerians be billed for what they use and not what they do not use”.

State Chairman Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade Ikechukwu Onyefuru,
who was represented by the Deputy General Secretary South-South, South-East, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), Comrade Lord-Douglas, maintained that the generation capacity of energy is very low in the state and cannot be given to only ‘band A’ users.

He expressed concern that the hike will crumble those businesses situated in band A’ areas.

“Our action is a response to a policy. The State does not have enough energy distribution. If the government has made this policy how many shops are in GRA, how many shops are in the government house

“The people that have small fridges to sell sachet water can not because they do not have. The little man’s laundry shop can not work because people’s clothes are not ironed.

“Since we can not afford to have 20 hours power supply per day the little energy that is coming is been given focused to band A

“Our actions are telling the government to allow those small businesses to breathe and that is what we are talking about.

“We have equal rights, we have freedom of using electricity, we have the freedom to walk on the road, we have the freedom to exercise how we feel. The state belongs to all of us, we will continue to advance until we reach the attention of government”.

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