After months of hullaballoo by National Assembly, rich Nigerians are likely to pay more for electricity supply from next month as a result of electricity tariff hike.
Apart from increasing economic hardships caused by COVID-19, the electricity hike in the long run would exacerbate the poor economic conditions of many, particularly the less privileged.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, declared Wednesday night that electricity tariff reviews will only follow service-based principles.
The NERC was apparently responding to media reports that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase in electricity tariffs for Nigerians, which is expected to take effect from September 1, 2020.
Unconfirmed online media reports have it earlier that, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally approved the official implementation of cost-reflective tariffs for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
It said the new tariff, which will now formally commence on September 1, 2020, was one of the preconditions given by the World Bank for a $1.5 billion loan for Nigeria.
Other preconditions include the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of exchange rate, which the Central Bank of Nigeria is implementing.
But the NERC in a statement by its Chairman, Professor James Momoh said, “NERC wishes to clarify that tariff reviews going forward will only follow service-based principles.
“Under these service-based principles, DISCOs will only be able to review tariff rates for customers when they consult with customers, commit to increasing the number of hours of supply per day and quality of service.
“In all cases poor and vulnerable Nigerians will not experience any increase. In line with these expectations, DISCOs are directed to engage with their customers on a Service-Based Tariff structure.
Under the Service-Based Tariff Structure, DISCOs can only review tariffs for customers under the following conditions:
“Customers are consulted and communicated a guaranteed level of electricity service by the DISCOs based on hours of supply Customers are metered “No estimated billing through the strict enforcement of the capping regulation.
This means that unmetered customers will not experience any cost increase beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area.
“Even under the above conditions, there will be no change in tariff for the most vulnerable as tariffs for those consuming 50KW or less remain frozen. Customers receiving less than 12 hours of supply will also not experience any change in tariffs.
“In addition, the President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering programme in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.
“He has also approved a waiver of the import levy on meters, so that those that do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.
“The general public and all stakeholders in the power sector are by this statement urged to disregard any reports of an arbitrary tariff increase affecting Nigerians.”