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Trouble looms as NERC awaits FG’s nod to up electricity tariff by 61.5%

Serious disquiet in the nation’s electricity sector is emerging should the federal government gives nod to the proposal of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to arbitrarily jerk up tariff payable by electricity consumers by 61.5 per cent.

NERC revealed weekend that it has concluded all plans for the increase but for the delay in its final approval from the Federal Government before implementing the new rate.

The Commission claimed that the actual tariff for one kilowatt-hour of power is meant to be N51, as against the current unit cost of N31.58 for which electricity distribution companies are selling the commodity.

According to NERC, the actual tariff of N51/KWH was arrived at based on the economic fundamentals considered when carrying out minor tariff reviews, adding that the commission had completed the process for the new tariff but had yet to receive an approval from the Federal Government to announce its implementation.

Some top stakeholders who barred their minds weekend with our correspondent said federal government may have to shelve the approval as it will further compound the challenges of manufacturers and ordinary Nigerians who use electricity daily in their businesses.

A top manufacturer based in Lagos under anonymity said “I don’t think government would listen to NERC now, after assuring Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) of deepening ease of doing business recently”.

“Moreover, we have time without number told NERC and Discos that the prevailing yearly review of tariffs shall remain. We rejected monthly or periodic reviews of tariffs; so I don’t know from where NERC got this idea of increasing tariff against a prevailing agreement for that matter.

It would be recalled that on several occasions, power distributors had complained about the inappropriateness of the N31.58/KWH of energy, and alleged that they (Discos) bought the commodity at N68/KWH but were mandated by NERC to sell at a far lesser rate.

According to NERC’s Principal Manager, Tariff and Rates, Aisha Mahmud, “We have done the review and it is the Federal Government that is to decide on whether to implement the N51 price for a kilowatt-hour or not, as against the N31/KWH that is being paid for the commodity presently. Once we get the approval from government, we will announce its implementation”.