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Electricity Tariff Hike: Reps orders NERC to halt implementation

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been directed to immediately halt the rollout of the new electricity tariff.

 

The directive by the House of Representatives on Tuesday followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, spearheaded by Nkemkanma Kama, a lawmaker from the Labour Party (LP) representing Ebonyi state.

Recall that on April 3, NERC approved an increase in electricity tariffs for customers belonging to Band A, which led to legislative action.

Customers in this category, who receive 20 hours of electricity per day, were supposed to start paying N225 per kilowatt (kW), a significant increase from the previous tariff of N66.

Yesterday, during a hearing at the Senate Committee on Power, Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power, defended the tariff hike by stating that the Federal Government could no longer afford to provide subsidies on power.

He said for the sector to be revived, the government needs to spend about $10 billion annually in the next 10 years.

“This is because of the infrastructure requirement for the stability of the sector, but the government cannot afford that,” the minister had said.

Adelabu has stated that the electricity sector is attracting more investors due to the increase in electricity tariff for Band A customers.

The Minister called on Band A customers to cease payment of new electricity tariff if they do not enjoy supply up to 20 hours daily.

Adelabu also disclosed that the Federal Government would pay the sum of N2.9trn to subsidise electricity this year if the tariff was not reviewed.

The minister stated that the government had introduced a new policy to save the drowning sector, assuring Nigerians that the pains were temporary, as the government was concerned and had introduced the new policy to rescue the sector.

The clarification comes as electricity consumer’s struggle with the recent increase in tariffs by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

However, Chairman of the committee, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe raised the question of how customers were migrated from the previous customer classes of Residential (R1, R2, R3), Commercial (C1, C2) and Demand (D1, D2), to different bands.

Abaribe requested to know if the band classification was under the provisions of the law.

He also raised more questions on how the parameters differentiate between regions and areas, citing a portion of the Act that highlighted the need for non-discriminatory distribution.

The development comes on the heels of the recent increase in electricity tariffs for consumers in the Band A category by the NERC.

The commission had increased the tariff paid by Band A customers from N68/KWh to N225/kWh.

Band A customers are expected to receive between 20-24 hours of electricity supply daily while the subscribers under Band B enjoy 16 to 20 hours of power supply and those in Band C receive 12 to 16 hours daily.

 

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