The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said that the new electricity tariff regime has the mechanism to meter all consumers within one year.
This came on Monday as power distribution companies began the implementation of the new tariffs increased by over 45 per cent despite oppositions from the National Assembly, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Labour Congress and the Nigerian Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network.
The Acting Head, NERC, Dr Anthony Akah, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said, “The new tariff, besides eliminating fixed charge, has a robust mechanism to ensure that the distribution companies fully meter their consumers and eliminate ‘crazy’ billing within one year.’’
He said the new tariff would protect consumers’ interests and allow more efficient billing system.
He said that the tariff would also fast-track the development of the nation’s economy.
Akah added that the tariff would encourage massive metering of customers and reduce losses suffered by power investors.
He said that the removal of fixed charge under the new tariff was in response to electricity consumers’ complaints.
Akah said that no Disco would connect new customers without first providing them with meters.
According to him, the new tariff has an inbuilt consumer protection mechanism and incentives for improved service delivery as well as fair return on investment in the new tariff order.
He said that it was cost- effective and would effectively monitor and enforce all service delivery agreements in the new tariff order.
Akah said if the new tariff was allowed, it would encourage more investors to participate in the sector, adding that both consumers and investors were fairly treated in the new tariff.
Meanwhile, while some labour unions had threatened to picket power firms on Monday, the House of Representatives had late last year resolved that NERC should not embark on any upward review of the tariffs until it had concluded the probe of the power sector, particularly the privatisation programme.
No labour union, however, picketed the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company on Monday.
The Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, said that the new tariff regime took effect as from 12am on Monday.
He told our correspondent that all Discos across the country had switched over to the new regime and were not mindful of whatever protest or opposition waged against the new regime.
When asked if the Discos had commenced the new tariff regime despite a court order and the National Assembly’s position, Oduntan said, “It is already on.
It took effect from 12am on Monday and I can confirm to you that it has landed. What we should be talking about now is how to sustain it and how we (Discos) can perform up to people’s expectations.
“We have done the needful. We have done what we are supposed to do with regard to the law. We will not allow any human being in this country to set this country back by going ahead with frivolous legal action and we are ready to face any consequence; that I can tell you. All the years of setback are gone. This sector must work.
“And this is not just about the Discos, it is about the Gencos, transmission as well as other key stakeholders. It is about the entire power sector and Nigerians need to know this. What we are talking about is about the whole power sector, it is not about any businessman for I’m not a shareholder in any of the Discos, neither am I speaking for any owner of a Disco.”
On December 21 last year, NERC announced new tariffs payable by electricity consumers, indicating increase in charges for different categories of consumers and also abolished the fixed charges. (Punch)