NERC boss explains hike in electricity tariff

Dr. Sam Amadi06 August 2013, Abuja – Despite the pre-paid five-year tariff on electricity which ought to make the price remain stable, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, has said the rise in inflation has forced the price to go high.

Amadi stated this Monday, when he played host to the Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Modupe Atoki, in his office in Abuja.

The NERC boss explained that although the price of electricity ought  to remain constant until the next regulation, which he said would take place in 2017, the rise in inflation had caused the rise in the price.

In his words: “The last regulation and review of electricity price took place in 2012 and is expected to remain constant till 2017, when another and fresh regulation would take place. But the reverse is the case now as the rise in inflation has forced electricity tariff to be high.”

He said with the collaboration of NERC with the leadership of the CPC, Nigerian consumers would get adequate service for their money.

He said the two government agencies had agreed to strengthen their collaboration in protecting the interests of electricity consumers in the country.

Atoki and Amadi disclosed this to journalists at a joint press briefing, after a closed door meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was at the instance of the CPC DG, who was currently visiting regulatory agencies in the country in search of synergy.

To this end, Amadi said a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed by the two agencies some years back would be reviewed to deepen the existing partnership.

He expressed the commitment of NERC to make CPC “a critical partner in the processes that lead to some of the regulations” in the electricity sector.

“We finished this meeting with greater commitment to work much more closely. We recognise that as the market develops both agencies need to be prepared to advance consumers’ interest.

“NERC indicates its willingness to work with CPC not just in the normal way, but to make them critical partners in the processes that lead to some of the regulations.

“This, of course, includes providing them with sufficient information that will enable them to do their work.

“We agreed on other initiatives that in the coming days and weeks we will announce, including partnership in capacity building for consumers and consumer groups and critical stakeholders.

“At the end of the day, consumers know their rights, they are better organised and have a strong voice to interface with NERC on quality of service, tariff and other issues that relate to electricity distribution,’’ Amadi said.

He disclosed that the revised MoU, to be made public in a few days, would cover areas such as information and capacity building for consumers and consumer groups in the country.

In her response, Atoki said her council’s mandate was to ensure that Nigerian consumers get satisfaction from the services they paid for.

According to her: “We had a very good discussion and I am pleased with the level of commitment of NERC in ensuring that electricity consumers are protected.

“We have our different mandates but we can hold our hands together and get to the consumer much more quickly if we collaborate and that has formed the basis of my visit.

“They have given us an open hand to revisit the agreements that we have had so that together we can now come and form a stronger agreement that will ensure protection for consumers.”

She further explained that her agency and the consumer protection units of the various industry regulators would unite to avoid duplication of efforts.

“CPC does not want to wait and receive complaints. We want to be proactive and prevent complaints and ensue that when they do actually arise, they are minimised.

“This is where the new CPC management is heading, and we can only do that if we begin to interact and collaborate with the regulators to ensure the consumer is better protected,” Atoki said.

– Yemi Akinsuyi and Bukola Fadairo, This Day

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