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Court order on reversal of electricity tariff may cost 10, 000 jobs, says Eko Disco boss

Mr Oladele Amoda, Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDP), on Friday said that this week’s court judgment reversing the recent hike in electricity tariff could result in a loss of about 10,000 jobs.

Amoda disclosed this at the company’s function in conjunction with the USAID which is themed “Improving Gender Diversity in the Power Sector’’ in Lagos.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on July 13 annulled the 45 per cent electricity tariff hike.

Justice Mohammed Idris made the pronouncement while delivering judgment in a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi, challenging the increment.

The judge described NERC’s action as “ultra vires, irrational, irregular and illegal”.

Amoda said that electricity distribution companies have warned that if the court order was obeyed, over 10, 000 people would lose their jobs in the power sector.

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According to him, that singular act (order) will affect the power sector negatively.

“Over 10, 000 workers may be sacked while investors will not just shy away from investing in the sector, international donors will also be discouraged from participating in the sector.

“We have appealed the court order for stay of execution. Meanwhile, that singular act will affect the power sector negatively.

“But the biggest one is that it may lead to job loss. More than 10, 000 workers may lose their job if that judgment stands.

“Company cannot continue to run a business at a loss. If we are not making profit, at least we try to cover our cost.

“Another thing is that if we go to status quo as contained in the judgment, we will reintroduce fixed charges.

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“Right now, the increase in tariff doesn’t cover our cost entirely. Many things have to be done by reinforcing our network which is dilapidated.

“With this judgment, banks may not offer us credit because they will realise we may not recover our cost,’ he said.

Amoda said that the company has disconnected all military formations within its network, adding that over N6 billion is being owed by the formations to date.

He also said that about N18 billion was been owed by various electricity customers within the network which posed serious setback to their operations.

According to him, the debts owed all the 11distribution companies by the Federal and States ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as the various military formation across the country has now risen to N90 billion.

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“Also indebted to the Discos for electricity supplied to them are some of the 774 local government secretariats, as well as the police and paramilitary barracks in the country.

” The Nigerian Army is leading in the list of debtors to the Discos which affect the operational status of the 11 Discos,’’ he said.

The Eko Disco boss said that the companies was currently in partnership with Egbin power station on 100 megawatts and Paras Energy and Natural Resources Development Limited on 60 megawatts to boost supply within its area of operation.

He said that incessant gas vandalisation by militants in the Niger Delta has reduced its energy quota supply from the national grid from 500 megawatts to less than 200 megawatts.

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