14 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said the new electricity tariff regime would help in bridging the over N180 billion market gap recorded in 2015.
Acting NERC Chairman, Mr. Anthony Akah, who gave the information in an interview with reporters recently, threatened to hold all the Distribution Companies accountable if they failed to meter all the consumers within one year, as stipulated in the service agreement signed by both parties.
He said, “If we don’t provide the right pricing, it means fundamentally that the financial institutions will not provide the much-needed loan facility to our providers to go into the operations to the extent that we are not able to cover the market gap.
“We have a situation where all those market gaps, like last year, we had well over N180 billion not covered by the market regime, so those have to be inputted back into the tariff.
“So it’s fundamentally important right now that since we’ve balanced that aspect of it, we as the regulator, are holding the operators, especially the Distribution Companies accountable for every bit of their service agreement,” he added.
Akah noted that NERC has also embarked on massive consumer education so that Nigerians will be well informed and well equipped to insist on their rights.
“Compelling Nigerians or communities to buy electric poles, buy transformers, repair transformers is totally not acceptable and we are holding the Distribution Companies accountable.”
The NERC boss allayed the fears of Nigerians amidst the lingering crisis trailing the new electricity tariff and assured that the Commission has given “clear directives that with all the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria facility (loan), they must be able to meter Nigerians within the timeline.”
According to him, “One of the new mechanisms that are very effective in this tariff regime is that the DISCOs must meter all consumers and failure to meter them within the timeframe mean that Nigerians will not be disconnected and you (DISCOs) cannot estimate them.”
He added that the new policy also empowers any aggrieved unmetered consumer to reject outrageous bills.
“You have the right to say ‘No’ I’m going to pay the last bill that you accepted to pay, pending the resolution of the disputed bill. So there are inbuilt mechanisms that are very robust, very strong to ensure that the sector plays by the rules.”