‘Tariff Increment Needed to Transform Electricity Sector’
By Ugo Aliogo
The Chief Executive Officer of Century Power Generation Limited, Dr. Chukwueloka Umeh, has said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) failure to increase electricity tariff in smaller steady steps from 2015, as stipulated in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) has made the almost 100 per cent increase for some consumers very discomforting, especially at a time of economic hardship.
Umeh, said for there to be electricity available to every Nigerian, tariff increment was necessary for the power value chain to work effectively.
He admitted that the timing for the increase could be better considering the economic situation in the country.
Speaking as a guest on a television program in Lagos, he disclosed that government’s role in the power sector should be that of an enabler that provides a conducive investment climate for investors, as well as a regulator that oversees the operation of the industry.
Umeh, also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Nestoil Group, explained that an increase in the tariff to a cost-reflective level was necessitated by the need for the DisCos “to upgrade and maintain their infrastructure, provide the service that people expect, and also make a profit from the power they sell.”
He said the DISCOs needed to generate enough revenue for the other companies in the value chain, including TCN, the GenCos, and the gas suppliers and transporters to get paid, adding that if these investments and payments are not made, people won’t get the power they’re required to pay for.
According to Umeh, “For electricity to be available, he said, government needs to create policies that encourage investment, ensure that contracts are respected and are backed by the rule of law. The private sector should be allowed to drive the entire power value chain, competition should be encouraged to grow and drive the right tariff pricing. Finally, government should desist from trying to regulate a market into existence, but rather, relax regulations enough to allow the sector grow organically.
“Most of the public and even some pertinent persons in government are not sufficiently informed about the power sector, hence the lack of understanding that without a functioning value chain involving gas producers and transporters, GenCos, TCN, and DisCos, most Nigerians will regrettably continue to pay for darkness.”