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A Call To NERC: Shoddy Electricity Tariff Reviews Of EEDC, Discos

By Iregbenu Paul
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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had earlier this year reviewed the rates to be paid for electricity consumption in the country following complaints lodged by all classes of consumers.

After its consultation with various electricity consumer groups across the country, NERC established that the skyrocketing increase in tariffs was informed by huge Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses which are incurred by the electricity distribution companies (Discos) and are

subsequently passed through to consumers.
It, in fact, reviewed the assumptions in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2.1) and determined that henceforth, it would be

inappropriate for distribution companies (Discos) to transfer collection losses that they record and have control over to consumers. This removal of collection losses from customers’ tariff is intended to reduce tariffs by more than 50 per cent in many places across the country.

However, it is the case that this mandate of NERC has not being obeyed by many discos, especially Enugu Electricity Distribution Company which has shoddily reviewed or increased tariffs on electricity.

It is observed that there were no serious public awareness and energy consumer interface, including but not limited to Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and many consumers were not carried along in the review of tariffs. The only case of advertorial as regards this review was done by Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (see The Nation, August 5, 2015, p. 52) yet there was no DISCO-Energy Consumers' interface meeting but shoddy internet/online appeal.

This situation contradicts NERC's new directive which came as part of the commencement of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) that is built on bilateral trading between parties and is geared towards ensuring an efficient market where cost reflectivity will lead to more affordable electricity services for consumers.

“As part of preparing for TEM, the commission has issued a tariff review regulation that requires the utilities to consult with relevant consumer classes before presenting a tariff review

application to the commission to approve.
“It is now the responsibility of the Discos to prepare and present to the commission a tariff that will ensure that they recover their costs and ensure efficient operations,” Amadi, the NERC's chairman, said in this regard.

Meanwhile, there are no bases for tariffs and charges reviews other than legalizing economic terrorism seeing the overexploited Nigerian energy consumers' paying for their discos' self-inflicted economic losses caused by collection losses, nonavailability of power, power transmission losses and electricity-allocation rejection. If the discos are having power generation and allocation challenges and losses they should engage the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) directly and not make Nigerias criminally neglected, abused and overzealously exploited.

Nigerians are promised massive power sector reforms only to be made scapegoats of the imperial economic hit men and internal cabal agents' greed. Consequently, NERC are called upon to discharging its oversight functions of intervening and participating actively in any future Nigerian Energy Consumers-DISCOs' tariffs and charges reviews so as to ensure that consumers are carried along.

NERC, as empowered by EPSR Act, is mandated to make sure that only prudent and efficient costs are passed to consumers. This is all in the principle of ensuring that the distribution company operates efficiently and provide quality and affordable services to consumers.

Also, it is advised that NERC should be stick-bound to its recent four months deadline for the discos across the nation to give Nigerians, whether using prepaid or postpaid meters, the right energy bills emanating from energy used, as a beginning point in sanitizing the frenzy recessions in the energy sector.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Iregbenu Paul and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."