Radio Erena: 23 April 2021

Families in Eritrea are being told they will have to fork out thousands of Nakfas in compounded fares for electricity after the country had gone through a lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some households were told they would have to pay between three to ten thousand Nakfa for their electricity.

Despite the fact that the livelihoods of some of the families have been severely affected due the Coronavirus, the compounded debt they have been hit with is drowning households into further misery and desperation.

Erena sources say members of the national service that are in the army, and who are the sole providers for their families with a meagre monthly income ranging between 600 and 1200 Nakfa have been expressing their grievances about the compounded debt charges dished out.

During pre-pandemic times, the Eritrean Electric Authority had been demanding that households pay a compounded debt for electricity services not consumed, citing that the authority did not have sufficient staff to read meters.

Electricity power supply is currently at its lowest in Eritrea. Nonetheless, the extortionate amount that households have been ordered to pay does not match the limited supply the public continues to receive.

Meanwhile, the response given to families that filed complaints with the provider is that they should ask relatives abroad to help them pay off the debt as “it’s only worth a few dollars”, according to information obtained.

During its 30 years in power, the government of Eritrea has failed to provide sufficient electric power supply to the public. Under the guise of national service, the government has also been deploying nationals of productive age into conflicts, subjecting them to unnecessary loss of life, and leaving their families without a provider. As a result, the government’s manipulative policies has left members of the general public depending on financial support coming from relatives and other family members that reside abroad.