National darkness could hit Nigeria today as electricity workers from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) threaten to go on strike.
This to the detriment of the contracts already signed between the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the 11 distribution and production companies.
The development, linked to a disagreement over promotion interviews for staff, will lead to a shortage of consumers, who are currently billed under NERC’s service-based tariff (SBT) terms.
In September 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari vigorously defended an increase in the SBT-labeled electricity tariff, stressing that this is the only gateway to improving the power supply for the masses. According to the plan, the higher a consumer’s hour of supply, the higher their kilowatt of electricity.
By implication, someone who enjoys 18 hours of electricity could pay N60 for a kilowatt, while some who enjoy six hours a day could pay N30 for the same kilowatt, undermining the promised hour of supply. by shortening some consumers. .
While market contracts are tied to productivity, an industrial strike by TCN would automatically spin up all power plants and distort the balance sheets of distribution companies.
The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had called for immediate industrial action with the threat of withdrawal from service today.
In a circular bearing the number 012/2020, dated 15-08-2022, the general secretary of the association, Joe Ajaero, had declared that the action had become imminent due to the directive of the board of directors of the TCN that all staff and principal directors (PMs) in the interim capacity assigned to assistant general managers (AGMs) must appear for a promotional interview.
Ajaero said, “This directive is contrary to our terms of service and career progression paths, and made unilaterally without the consent of affected stakeholders.”
He added that the reason for the industrial action also included the stigmatization of the staff of the Office of the Chief of Service of the Federation (HSoF) to work in other areas of the electricity sector and the refusal of the operator of the contract to finance the payment of ex-PHN staff entitlements as agreed in the December 2019 agreement after a union strike.
While most DisCos were already preparing the minds of their customers to wait for the blackout, the Department of Energy, in a letter, called on the union to end the strike.
The correspondence, signed by Minister of State for Energy Goddy Jedy-Agba and addressed to the NUEE scribe, had called on the union to allow two weeks of dialogue to resolve grievances.
“The Department of Energy is aware of your complaints and is committed to providing solutions acceptable to all parties involved,” he said.
But Ajaero, in his response yesterday, said it was ‘discouraging that three years later an agreement reached with the union following the intervention of the minister’s office has not been implemented’ .
Recalling that the Minister was among the signatories of the agreement signed in December 2019 with the union, the scribe regretted that the unresolved problems had escalated to be some of the causes of social movements in the sector.
On matters affecting the breach and contravention of TCN’s terms of service by the board, he said management only wrote by proxy.
Against the above, Ajaero said the union may be forced to proceed with the planned withdrawal of services.
However, he said the union was open to decisive discussions with relevant stakeholders for lasting solutions and preventing the total collapse of the sector.