The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a statement refuting the report that electricity tariff has been increased in Nigeria by 50%.
In a statement titled: Public Notice On Purported 50% Increase in Electricity Tariffs, the Commission published on Tuesday afternoon, it said the report of tariff increment by 50% is misinformation because no such approval has been given by the regulator.
NERC said there has been minor review for service bands A, B, C, D and E which have been adjusted from N2.00 to N4.00, but the tariff of consumers under bands D and E, who get less than 12 hours daily electricity supply for one month remain frozen.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to publication publications in the print and electronic media misinforming electricity consumers that the Commission has approved a 50% increase in electricity tariffs.
“The Commission hereby state unequivocally that NO approval has been granted for a 50% tariff increase in the Tariff Order of electricity distribution companies which took effect on January 1, 2021.
“On the contrary, the tariff for customers on service bands D & E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remains frozen and subsidized in line with the policy direction of the FG.
“In compliance with the provision of the EPSR Act and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E have been adjusted by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per KWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation & movement in forex.
“In the light of strong public interest on this matter, the media is hereby requested to retract their earlier publications misinforming electricity consumers nationwide about a purported 50% increase in electricity tariffs.
“The Commission remains committed to protecting electricity consumers from failure to deliver on committed service levels under the service-based tariff regime,” the statement said.
The regulator also urged customers to report any bill that does not reflect the approved tariff.
The report of 50% tariff increment triggered reactions from Nigerians and the clarification from NERC didn’t help. The Commission admitted that it has adjusted the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E by N2.00 to N4.00 per KWhr, which means there has been an approved increment which already reflects in consumption.
“Perhaps someone that understands the NERC’s statement can explain it to me. All I know is that I bought N50,000 electricity on 27 December 2020 and got 968.2 units. I then bought the same N50,000 electricity on 4th January 2021 and got only 934.9 units,” Dr. Joe Abah wrote on Twitter, sharing his purchase receipt.
Earlier in September, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), increased electricity tariff from N30.23 per kilowatt-hour to N62.33 per kwh. As a result of the tariff increment, five distinctive bands (A-E) were created to reflect the various service levels and minimum hours of power supply.
Customers were to be allotted electricity supply according to the hours of electricity they consume in their respective Bands. Customers in [Band A] are to enjoy a daily minimum supply of 20 hours, those in [Band B] minimum of 16 hours, [Band C] will have minimum of 12 hours, [Band E] minimum of 8 hours, and those in [Band D], a minimum of 4 hours daily electricity supply.
According to NERC, the increased tariff will only apply to customers in Bands A, B and C, while D and E remain frozen until they are allotted more hours.
Nigerian labor unions threatened to embark on a strike over attempt by the federal government to implement the tariff regime. The proposed strike was averted when the federal government promised to apply subsidies to the tariff.
“We completed our work with Labour on electricity tariffs. The federal government will use Value Added Tax, VAT proceeds from the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), to reduce the September increases by 10 percent to 31 percent for bands A to C, Band D and will remain frozen,” the Special Adviser to the president on Infrastructure, Ahmed Rufai Zakaria said then.
He added that there would be mass metering to ameliorate the raging situation of estimated billing, as over 60% of consumers are still unmetered.
Against this backdrop, the uproar against the increased tariff is still loud even after NERC stated that it’s not up to 50%. Most Nigerian households are still unmetered and the promise of tariff subsidy appears not to reflect on electricity bills.
NERC said they adjusted tariff by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per KWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation and movement in forex, the clarification did nothing to calm the uproar as the welfare of Nigerians has not improved since the last time electricity tariff was hiked.
“The people at NERC approving electricity tariff increase every now & then apparently want to run the masses aground. Many homes & businesses haven’t managed to adjust to the last tariff hike, Fisayo Soyombo said.
“Either you want to chase us out of our country or you want to turn us to overnight thieves,” he added.