Expect electricity tariff hike after criminalisation of estimated billing—NASS
The National Assembly (NASS) weekend introduced fresh angle to the rattling of Nigerians by reactions and counter-reactions of Discos and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over imminent increase in electricity tariff.
The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who clearly rejected the proposed increment of electricity tariff in the country via series of tweets on weekend, made it clear that “The right time to increase electricity rates is when the proposed amendment to the act criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.”
The Speaker, who promised to meet with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, as well as other stakeholders to ensure the proposed increase was made on a practical basis, said “There is no guarantee that after any electricity tariff hike the Discos will not continue with the nefarious practice of bills estimation or provide uninterrupted power supply.
“I believe the National Assembly should ensure that any increase in electricity tariff if at all, should be cost-reflective and not just a whimsical increase with no empirical basis.”
“Also, any such increase should only be made after the proposed amendment to the law criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.
“I intend to meet and discuss this sequence and other conditions with the Attorney General of the Federation and other relevant authorities,” he added.
Business Hilights recalls in the MYTO document dated December 31, 2019, NERC had announced the plan to increase electricity tariff effective January 1, 2020 even though the agency made a U-Turn claiming that the increment is not going to be in the first quater of the year.
A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers shows an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.
Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.
The development affected customers captured in the 11 Distribution Companies (Discos) spread across the country such as Abuja Disco, Benin Disco, Enugu Disco, and Eko Disco.
Others are Ibadan Disco, Ikeja Disco, Jos Disco, Kaduna Disco, Kano Disco, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola Disco.
Whereas the yet to settle disagreements between the Association of National Electricity Distributors (ANED) and NERC raged throughout last week, at the peak, Chairman of NERC, Professor James Momoh, claimed that the commission would engage the public on the planned review in the next three months, before deciding on any implementation.
Rather than forcing Discos that are deliberately frustrating the installation of prepaid meters to their customers to do so ahead of the increment, Prof Momoh said NERC would begin the regulation of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies who fail to provide meters for their customers.