By Abah Adah
Minister of power, Engr. Sale Mamman, has dismissed plans to effect a major increase in electricity tariff in the country.
The minister in a statement said instead of a significant hike in electricity tariff, Nigerians should expect increased efficiency in the sector to reduce tariffs while managing headwinds from foreign exchange and inflation.
The clarification came amidst reports of possible major increase in the price of electricity that has dominated the public space.
Mamman said the order issued by NERC on April 26 was a routine procedure.
He said the review planned by NERC was in accordance with Section 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.
“The tariff for customers on service bands D & E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remains subsidized in line with the policy direction of the federal government,” he said.
The minister said Section 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 provides clear guidelines for the periodic review of tariff, based on market data and submissions from licensees. The guidelines include the provision that the commission shall give notice of activities related to tariff “in the Official Gazette, and in one or more newspapers”.
“The Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) per NERC’s regulation obtains inputs from operators in the market every six months to perform minor reviews and a major review is required every five years. Thus, as in January a minor review will occur in June. Given that the timing for the extraordinary review has also elapsed, a review will occur for consideration in January 2022,’ the statement said.
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Mamman said the Buhari administration remained faithful to the adopted resolutions from the Joint FGN-NLC/TUC Technical Committee on Electricity Tariffs which makes recommendations for “NERC to conduct an extraordinary review of the MYTO to further review factors and align them with current evolving realities.”
According to him, the reason this recommendation was posited by the committee was to ensure that efficiencies could be derived from an extraordinary review to further reduce tariff.
He said government was committed to increasing supplied energy to the grid through rapid expansion of infrastructure through the various facilities for the sector either to the DisCos under strict terms or to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the National Mass Metering Programme is on course to reduce losses. To date more than 500, 000 meters have been delivered to DisCos in phase 0 of the program in 5 months. This exceeds the progress made for the entire MAP scheme.
We will eliminate the metering gap during the life of the administration,” the statement said.
It further stated that the administration was not unaware of the challenges that Nigerians face which is why government has continued to subsidise the band D and E consumers to pre-September 2020 rates-55% of grid connected customers.