Get ready for higher tariffs and less power supply - NERC warns consumers
The Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Dr. Sam Amadi, said on Monday that electricity tariff will continue to rise, despite the erratic power supply in the country and frequent system collapses.
Amadi, while briefing journalists following public outcry against the recent increase in the fixed charge from N500 to N700 or N800, depending on the location, said, 'The truth is that the tariff must increase despite shortfalls in service delivery.'
He argued that the inability of power distribution companies to live up to expectation was not a tenable reason to slash tariff, adding that it was in the interest of Nigerians not to reduce the charges.
Amadi said that most of the shortcomings in the sector were structural and insisted that the commission would not reverse itself on the approved tariff regardless of the underperformances of power distribution companies.
According to him, 'We regret that the distribution companies have not been very committed to meeting their obligations in the MYTO. NERC recognises that the quality of service has not seen significant improvement, especially in the area of metering and accurate billing of customers.
'Our expectation for significant and sustained improvement in electricity supply and quality service lies in the expected takeover by the privatisation preferred bidders, who have better incentives and commitment, and have made enforceable promises to invest continuously in providing better services to consumers.
'These investments and commensurate improvements will not all be made in one day but over the coming months, years and decades following the entry of new investors and managers of our distribution companies.'
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Sunday condemned the new tariff designed by NERC, with its President, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, saying the body rejected the latest figures because of the epileptic electricity supply and the low purchasing power of the working people.
But reacting to the NLC position, Amadi argued that two minor reviews conducted by the commission did not result in increase in tariff.
This, he said, was because the fundamentals of the MYTO and the financial model published on NERC's website had not significantly changed.
'We must state that the commencement and results of both minor reviews were announced via various national print and electronic media, including some that carried various provocative statements that bear absolutely no connection with the truth,' Amadi said.
On what the penalty was for distribution companies that failed to provide stable electricity despite collecting high fixed charges, the NERC boss stated that the commission had responded with regulations to enforce correct billing of unmetered customers.
He said NERC had also introduced the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation policy to help protect electricity consumers.
'We will continue to enforce these regulations and interventions to improve quality supply before the preferred bidders take over the networks,' Amadi said.