The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has disclosed the reasons behind the increasing rate of electricity tariffs across the country.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports Aisha Mahmud, NERC Commissioner in charge of Consumers Affairs made the disclosure at the Customers’ Complaints Resolution Meeting Organised on Tuesday in Jos.
Recall NERC had remained silent after it was first confirmed by TNG that electricity distribution companies in the country quietly hiked electricity tariffs across their franchise areas.
The tariff hike was first observed on the Tariff Band A Non-MD, which increased from N57.55 per unit it was in December 2022 to N68.2 per unit in January 2023. It has remained so, checks confirm.
However, according to Mahmud, the increasing rate of electricity tariffs was due to inflation, rising exchange rate, cost of gas, labour generation and other economic realities in the country.
”Inflation has gone up to double digit. The exchange rate, even the official rate, is crazy. Operators purchase most of their equipment abroad using the current exchange rate.
“The cost of labour keeps increasing, among other factors,” the NERC Commissioner in charge of Consumers Affairs explained.
On the meeting with customers, Mahmud said the commission was in Jos to educate customers on their rights and listen to their complaints with a view to addressing them on the spot.
Speaking further at the meeting, she disclosed NERC will soon provide four million prepaid meters to electricity consumers in the country.
Mahmud, who described the shortage of meters in the country as one of the biggest problems currently facing the commission, hinted that the challenge would soon be a thing of the past.
She said that modalities had been put in place to provide the meters through the National Mass Metering Programme (NMP) of the Federal Government.
”Actually, metering is one of the biggest challenges that we have been facing in the last couple of years in the commission.
”I don’t think this is funny given that so much investments have been made in the power sector.
”It is said that in Nigeria, electricity generation started in Lagos as far back as 1826 with 20 megawatts. 126 years down the line, we are still talking about basic things as metering, a phase we should have passed a long time ago.
”Aside many interventions in that regard, including the zero phase of the NMP where over one million meters were provided, the first phase of the initiative will make available four million meters to customers,” she said.
Mahmud, who said that all preparations had been concluded for the mass metering programme, explained that funding for the project would come through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
”We shall make available these meters to customers through the distribution companies and this is to show that the regulator is not just sitting but making efforts to see that all Nigerians have access to metres.
”So, we shall do all it takes as regulators to ensure that the issue of metering becomes a thing of the past. I strongly believe that with the plans ahead, we will overcome this challenge soon,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Abdu Mohammed, the Managing Director of Jos Electricity Distribution Plc (JED), said that the concerns raised by the customers at the meeting would be addressed immediately.
”Quite a lot of issues, ranging from metering, billing, power quality, complaints about our staff, among others, were raised.
”I want to promise that all these issues will be addressed immediately and, in terms of metering, we are very much on track.
”Few days back, we purchase 12,000 meters and they are currently in our store. We are expecting 305,000 meters in the forthcoming NMP phase one and the over 100,000 from the World Bank Intervention
”So, very soon, you will see traction in all pur franchise states and all our customers will be metered,” Mohammed said.