NERC vows to go ahead with Feb 1 planned electricity tariff hike

*Electricity meters.

*Electricity meters.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

07 January 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has said there is no going back on the February 1, 2016, proposed take-off date of the new electricity rates, despite orders from the National Assembly for the new tariff regime to be suspended pending certain investigations.

NERC last month approved a new electricity tariff under the revised Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO, for electricity distribution companies, Discos.

The Commission noted in a statement, Wednesday, signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Dr. Usman Arabi, in Abuja that it was in view of the expected rates take-off that it directed the 11 Discos in the country’s electricity industry to abstain from connecting new customers without first providing for them consumers’ meters.

“We wish to state that at no time did the commission change the date of the take-off of the new tariff,” said NERC in the statement.

The commission also quoted Dr. Anthony Akah who it said is currently heading its activities in the absence of new commissioners, to have said that the removal of fixed charge under the new tariff regime was in response to electricity consumers’ complaints and a measure to ensure that the Discos improve on service delivery and revenue collection.

Akah equally stated that NERC would continue to engage stakeholders, including members of the National Assembly, to address extant concerns raised on the new tariff regime.

“NERC holds National Assembly in high esteem and we are sure that both institutions are working to ensure that the national and consumer interests are protected,” he noted.

He explained that there were inbuilt consumer protection mechanisms and incentives for improved service delivery by the Discos and fair return on investment in the new rates.

According to him, NERC, in implementing the tariff, will effectively monitor and enforce all service delivery agreements therein.

He stated that apart from eliminating fixed charge, the new MYTO has a robust mechanism to ensure that Discos embark on comprehensive metering of their consumers and thus minimise instances of estimated billing within one year.

The commission, Akah noted, has the capacity to continue to carry out its mandate until the reconstitution of a new board of
commissioners by the government.

“The commission as currently staffed, is well positioned to carry out its responsibilities effectively and efficiently especially as it commences the implementation of the new tariff pending the appointment of a new set of commissioners,” Akah added.

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