Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday responded to insinuations that it hid the latest increase in power tariffs from Nigerians, saying that the organisation had no reason to hide the new rates.
Speaking during a briefing to clear the air on the supposed new tariffs , the power sector regulator stated that media reports that the rates were new were untrue, insisting that the increase happened in February.
THISDAY had reported on Friday that NERC had just released documents approving tariff increases for Distribution Companies (Discos), about four months after the implementation of the new rates commenced.
In separate orders issued to the 11 Distribution Companies (Discos), NERC noted that the “minor” hike in tariffs was to compensate for market fundamentals outside the control of the electricity distributors.
However, it was unclear why the regulatory agency surreptitiously took the decision as the usual practice before now was to make the announcement public before implementation.
In addition, it was observed that while a number of the Discos got roughly N4 increase, some of the bills paid by the numerous tariff band customers were kept constant, while a handful were also marginally reviewed downward.
But speaking in Abuja, Chairman of NERC, Mr Sanusi Garba, explained that there were no new hikes , apart from the review approved in December, saying that there was no “breaking news” about the information it posted on its website. “Generally, the perception was that the rate increase has just been done.
There’s no reason for us to hide any document,” the NERC chair reiterated.
He maintained that the bi-annual review was to take care of inflation, foreign exchange, generation volume among others, insisting that it is part of the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO).
“If we all think that rate review is bad, then we are missing the point,” he stressed, noting that in fact, the Enugu Disco’s rates did go down during the review.
A THISDAY review had shown that the commission’s orders to the Discos were jointly signed by Garba and the Vice Chairman, NERC, Musiliu Oseni on 29th December, 2021, but with implementation starting in February this year.
The document which indicated that the increases will run between now and 2026 , showed that for instance, the Port Harcourt Disco customers on A-Non MD who paid N56.16/kwh in January 2022 will now (February to December 2022) pay N60.67/kwh).
For (B Non-MD) customers who paid N56.64/kwh in January 2022, will now expend N59.64/kwh for the same purpose, while the E- MD2 customers who for example paid N50.72/kwh in January 2022, have been from February 2022 paying N54.22/kwh .
But for Abuja Disco, while for instance, A-non-MD increased from N51.75 to N56.28, B-non MD was hiked from N49.72 to N54.13 , C non-MD was increased from N45.65 to N50.65 and C-MD1 from N58.03 to N62.05.
Despite recent hikes , Nigeria remains a nation mostly in darkness with incessant power outages as well as national grid collapses which the managers of the sector have attributed to vandalism of gas supply assets.
The country currently generates less than 4,500MW on a daily basis, a quantum which is grossly inadequate for a nation with an estimated population of over 200 million people.