21 April 2014, Abuja – The Federal Government has not increased tariffs on electricity since 2011, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency has said.
According to NERC, the yearly rise in power tariffs over the years were benchmarked since 2011, stressing that electricity distribution companies were mandated to comply with the already established rates.
The commission’s reaction is on the backdrop of public outcry on the fixed charges on electricity bills which had prompted protests from some quarters in the light of low electricity supply across the country.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, disclosed that there had been series of misconceptions with regard to the Multi Year Tariff Order.
Amadi, in a statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs Department, Dr. Usman Arabi, explained that the MYTO was a five-year tariff arrangement, adding that the amount paid as electricity bills by power consumers had been benchmarked.
He said, “When we say that we have not increased tariff, we do not mean that the tariff you paid in 2011 is what you are paying now, rather we mean that the order of the tariff published has not been changed. That is why it is called Multi Year Tariff Order. It simply means that we have benchmarked the cost.”
The NERC boss, however, urged power consumers to report to the commission errant Discos that charge beyond what was benchmarked for them in their region.
Amadi further explained that by June first of every year, electricity tariff changes, such that there is a fixed tariff for the next five years.
He pleaded for customers’ understanding that distribution companies should not be accused of increasing tariff arbitrarily with regard to the fixed charges since it had been factored into the MYTO.
He also stated that the commission expects a robust metering of customers by the Discos and warned that reckless estimated billing must stop.
“That someone does not have a meter does not mean that he must be given over-estimated bills. Meters must be read and customers charged accordingly,” Amadi said.
He urged distribution companies to fast-track metering of customers, stressing that the commission wants to see real action.
Amadi urged electricity customers to pay their bills and called on those who indulge in electricity theft to desist, warning that Discos commission’s authority would punish anyone caught bye-passing his or her meter.
He said anyone caught will be made to pay fifty times what was stolen.
On Thursday, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government had ordered power distribution companies to monitor, apprehend and detain electricity consumers involved in illegal connection and those who steal power.
– The Punch