Groups of consumers mobilise against hike they describe as Illegal, unjustifiable, insist Nigerians even deserve electricity supply on credits, not tariff hike, to ameliorate their plights
Electricity consumers in Nigeria on Sunday “outrightly rejected” plans by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to review electricity tariffs for the 11 power Distribution Companies (DisCos), expected to lead to hike in the unit cost of power.
The read riot act to NERC and DisCos to think of the consequence of such actions before embarking on it.
Rising under two groups – the Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibilities Initiative (ECRRI) and All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum (AECPF) – the consumers kicked against the planned review, declaring it illegal and unjustifiable.
There was no justification for any upward review of electricity tariffs due to the current economic realities and challenges being faced by Nigerians, the said in separate chats on Sunday.
NERC, the regulator of the power sector, had in a public notice, announced that it was working on concluding Extraordinary Tariff Review process for the DisCos.
The commission said it would also commence the processes for the July 2021 Minor Review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO-2020) which was done every six months.
However, National Coordinator, AECPF, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, said minor review was not automatic even if it was done every six months.
Samuel-Ilori said “There are provisions to be fulfilled before they can do any review whether major or minor.
“In the major review they have to fulfill the provisions of Section 76(1) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) which states that a licensee can ask for a review premised on what the licensee has spent so far to improve supply.
“This also applies to minor review and we cannot say that supply has improved in the last few months based on the DisCos investments in the sector.
“As at today, we are generating 5,866MW to serve the whole Nigeria which is almost 200 million people. That cannot be said to be an improvement,” he said.
He also argued that there was nothing like extraordinary review in the EPSRA, stressing that what Nigerians needed now was improved supply not tariff increment.
Also, Mr Surai Fadairo, National President, ECRRI said Nigerians were still struggling to cope with the last tariff increment following the major review done in 2020.
Fadairo said “The national minimum wage is N30,000 and most states are yet to implement the payment.
“There is rising inflation in costs of goods and services. Some Nigerians have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and are barely holding on.
“There is no justification for any increment in electricity at this point in time. We are even thinking of how government can give electricity credits to Nigerians to ameliorate their plights,” he said.
NERC had said extraordinary tariff reviews were carried out in instances where industry parameters had changed from those used in the operating tariffs to such an extent that a review was urgently required to maintain the viability of the industry.
The commission said the reviews would put into consideration, changes in inflation, foreign exchange, gas prices and available generation capacity.
NERC said it would also consider Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) required to evacuate and distribute the said available generation capacity in accordance with EPSRA and other extant industry rules