Epileptic Electricity's Emergent Three Tier Tariffs and Quizzical Quick-Fire Queries

The recent introduction of three tier electricity tariffs must have come as a rude shock to the vast majority of the masses who ...


The recent introduction of three tier electricity tariffs must have come as a rude shock to the vast majority of the masses who have been at the receiving end of some of the temporally questionable socio-economic policies of the present administration. This is not just because of the unilateral and somehow hilarious classification of electricity consumers into groups or bands ranging from A to C based on the number of hours that they will be enjoying power supply on daily basis. It is because this is synonymous to putting or rubbing salt on the economic injuries the wounded masses have sustained and are still nursing since the sudden removal of oil subsidies leading to astronomical fuel price hikes and skyrocketing prices of other essential commodities and services. It is again this background that directing the canon of the following quick-fire queries towards those in authority becomes imperative on behalf of and in the interest of the suffering masses.

Do the present democratic administration feel the masses of this great nation have now overcome the acute agonies of the sudden removal of oil subsidies that have hiked prices of virtually all essential products and services? Do the governmental authorities think the best way to appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the masses after reluctantly bearing the burdens of the fuel price hikes is to double their economic tasks just as Pharaoh did via the hikes in electricity tariffs and making people's pain excruciating? Do the governments at various levels feel that the patriotic citizens who seem to be bearing the weights of their heavy economic policies don't have their own elastic limits beyond which they may not be able to cope with additional burdens inflected by the governments and their agencies. Does the presentation administration think that is how the good people of this country will continue to be accepting hook, line and sinker whatever economically challenging policies imposed on them.

Are the poor masses not the ones badly bearing the brunt of the economically challenging policies of the present governmental administration resulting in skyrocketing prices of essential services and commodities? Are the people in power not taking advantage of the underprivileged masses when the far-reaching consequences of the policies meant for the betterment of all and sundry are not really felt by them since they are far far above poverty line but are badly felt by the masses who are mostly below poverty line? Are the policy makers not conscious of the fact that some of the economically oriented policies are having lopsided impact and the associated pains are not equitably felt by both the haves and the have-nots raising fairness related concerns as far as such policies are concerned? Are the people in power or policy makers doing critical analyses of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of their previous or existing policies before delving into new ones?

Can't the government of the day that just implemented the oil subsidy removal leading to the sudden upsurge in the prices of fuel and related items let the people see and enjoy the benefits of this policy first before rushing into another policy leading to sudden increase in electricity tariffs? Can't the present administration be temporally strategic by being very mindful of the time economically sensitive decisions or policies are implemented so that the good people of this country, especially those who are not that buoyant or affluent, will not be overwhelmed or overburdened? Can't the crucial policy or decision makers at various levels positively consider the scripturally professed fact that there is a time and season for everything so that right things will be done at the right time when they will not be misconstrued or their purposes misunderstood by the people? Can't good timing be considered imperative and be figuratively viewed not just as money but as everything precious or valuable?

Why is the fundamental Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that stipulates people's accessibility to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all not positively considered by the government agency making electricity unaffordable, unreliable and unsustainable in the country? Why is electricity supply not first made reliable and available to everybody who needs it for different purposes by ensuring that people enjoy uninterrupted electricity round the clock as it is in other countries with stable electricity like Ghana and South Africa so as to end the era of epileptic power supply? Why is electricity not tactically or moderately subsidised by the government just to make our people enjoy what we enjoyed while studying in Malaysia as the government would pay for people's first RM 20 electricity consumption and those whose bills were RM40 monthly would only pay half of the tariff charged? Why can't we first try to achieve and sustain stable power supply to all and sundry at pretty reasonable rates?

What makes the already developed nations like United Kingdom, United States, France and Germany and the fast developing countries of Asia like Malaysia, Singapore and Japan to continue to subsidise electricity consumption if not to make life bearable and meaningful to the people there? What stops the government here from following the good steps of these frontline nations by providing good electricity supplies and bearing part of the people's tariffs so that they can also have the promised dividends of democracy? What will it cost the government of the day to make life less burdensome for its patriotic citizens at home just as the globetrotters already enjoying the greener pastures of other climes? What is the interest of those who keep pressuring the government locally and internationally to implement hard economic measures making living difficulties for the poor masses and forcing many to do incredible and unpleasant things to survive the difficult times?

Can't the implementation of electricity tariff increments be tactically staggered or done systematically probably in phases if this must be done at all so that the heavy impacts of these newly imposed tariffs will not be severe for the masses and won't be at a go? Can't the government prevent a recurrence or similitude of the negative economic impacts of the sudden fuel subsidy removal that the vast majority of the masses have been battling with since last year that the prices of fuel and other essential products and services skyrocketed and have not nosedived? Can't the electricity subsidy removal or tariff increments be done on quarterly or yearly basis since we have four quarters in a year and four years in an electoral or political office term so that this will be somehow progressive and can be monitored or modified if the needs arise so that the masses will not be overburdened? Can't the principles of proper planning preventing poor performance be employed in the determination and implementation of electricity tariffs to avoid untimely escalation?

Isn't the electricity tariff hikes approved for implementation by the present administration tantamount to worsening sustained injuries as the masses are still nursing the wounds of the fuel price hikes and struggling to cope with the resultant economic effects? Isn't the sudden electricity tariff hikes synonymous to reciprocating the goodly gestures of the electorate who voted the present administration to power with badly timed policy gestures that may start making the electorate to have a rethink except they start seeing the anticipated positive impacts of the dire economic policies? Is it not commonly said that one good turn deserves another which is a common saying that emphasizes the fact that the good deeds of some good people need to be repaid or rewarded with corresponding good deeds? Is it not high time the government showed the hearts of gratitude considered the best of virtue unlike ingratitude said to be the worst of vices by implementing people-oriented economic policies as opposed to harsh economic policies?

Will the government make up for the challenging policies resulting in escalating or skyrocketing prices with realistic living wages to compensate for the sudden upsurge of costs of the products or services in question and those of related items? Will the approval or payment of the said realistic living wages be done in good or double quick time so as to ameliorate the excruciating pains of the economic policies leading to the astronomical increase in the prices of affected products and services as well as related items? Will the present administration still put in place some of the things they promised the masses as social measures aimed at alleviating or ameliorating the economically challenging conditions of the people especially the pecuniary social benefits? Will the people's eventual take-home pays render inconsequential the cumulative increases in the prices of various products and services thereby making the masses feel not just the short term pains of this administration's economic policies but also the long term gains?

Is the government not aware of the fact that many of the economically challenged citizens were unable to consistently pay the previous electricity tariffs making many of them to bypass their meters or connect some heavy gadgets directly to the main source of electricity supply? Is it not the government that approves the laws that prohibit sharp practices relating to electricity consumption manipulations and which stipulate corresponding punitive measures that these offences attract to serve as deterrent to offenders and others? Is it not obvious that many recalcitrant electricity consumers still persistently violate the electricity consumption regulations even as they are caught and disconnected from the source of electricity supply simply because they could not conveniently pay the old electricity consumption tariffs? Is the payment of the new electricity tariffs going to be easy for the economically challenged masses who found the payment of the old tariffs pretty difficult?

When is the government commencing the newly conceived idea of building a modern nuclear power plant that will guarantee the generation of more than enough electricity and ensure uninterrupted power supply? When will the country be able to boast of meeting the local needs of the people as far as electricity is concerned before venturing into meeting the needs of neighbouring countries that rely on the nation's electricity that is not even sufficiently and consistently provided? When is the nation going to say a final farewell to the league of nations that are almost accustomed to day and night blackouts due to epileptic electricity supply and ultimately join the comity of countries that have been enjoying uninterrupted power over the years? When is the present administration going to bring the perpetual light that will exterminate or annihilate the age-long darkness that has been bedeviling the nation, incapacitating the people, inhibiting systematic transformation and impeding societal development?

The above barrage of questions are not intended to undermine any plan or policy of the present administration especially in respect of electricity supply and consumption. Rather, they are pointers to areas requiring urgent attention and which need to be addressed and redressed to make the policy in question bearable and acceptable to the people. Therefore, there is the dire need for the government that came on board with the intention of righting wrongs, solving problems, healing wounds, stabilising the system and revolutionising the society to mind when and how a policy aimed bettering the lots of the masses is implemented without battering them. Such a policy must have a human face and should be masses-oriented or people-centered so that citizens will not be physically, financially or economically and emotionally or psychologically injured before the manifestation of the anticipated policy gains. The policy should be initiated and implemented at the right time, by the right people, in the right way, for the right reasons and to benefit the right people ceteris paribus.

Samson Oluga, PhD

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GT News: Epileptic Electricity's Emergent Three Tier Tariffs and Quizzical Quick-Fire Queries
Epileptic Electricity's Emergent Three Tier Tariffs and Quizzical Quick-Fire Queries
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