Electricity consumers decry increase in tariff, say its arbitrary




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ABUJA – Some electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday decried the recent upward review of electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
NERC on Dec. 23 approved a review of the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2 regime, with an implication for takeoff date for a disciplined electricity market by Jan. 1, 2015.
The commission’s Chairman, Dr Sam Amad,i said the review was expected to improve service delivery as distribution companies would implement their investment plans for metering and strengthened networks.
He explained the adjustment in methodology was not expected to result in increased tariff on residential customers on R1 and R2, who would form majority of electricity consumers in the next six months.
The consumers on the other hand, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) there was no basis for the increase.
According to them, the power situation had not improved since the unbundling of the sector.
A civil servant, Mrs Carol Sule, said she was not comfortable with the increase in electricity tariff as power supply had not been commensurate with the bills paid by consumers.
“Definitely, no consumer will be comfortable with the increase more so electricity supply has not improved.
“The increase in the tariff is not the problem, but has electricity supply Improved, when 90 per cent of businesses in the country are being run with generators,’’ she said.
She noted the power situation had deteriorated even with the purported privitisation of the sector for efficient delivery.
“Electricity supply in Nigeria has been steadily creeping and crawling; Nigerian consumers pay so much for the units of electricity they do not consume.’’
Sule said she now paid N12,000 as against N3,000 four years back on electricity consumed in her two-bedroom apartment.
Mr Anthony Umonye, a civil servant, queried the rationale behind the review since electricity supply had yet to improve.
“The review of electricity tariff is inline with the power sector Act but is it really commensurate with service delivery,” he said.
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According to Umonye, consumers will willingly pay the new rates if service delivery will improve with the increase in tariff.
Mr Sam Chukwu, an energy consultant, said the regulator must ensure that distribution companies provided the necessary infrastructure in place before the upward review of electricity tariff.
“There is no stability in the supply of electricity; the regulator must mandate distribution companies to ensure the needed infrastructure are in place to supply constant electricity,’’ he said.
Chukwu said the provision of infrastructure by distribution companies was a condition precedent for the review of electricity tariff in the country.

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Mr Abolade Fatai, an ICT consultant, said the increase of electricity tariff without stable electricity supply was absurd.

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“The system whereby you increase tariff on a service without providing service is absurd,’’ he said.
Mr Ayodeji Williams, a businessman said that it was wrong for NERC to increase tariff as consumers were yet to get the desired result of privitisation of the sector.

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“Though there is a little improvement in power supply, I do not see any reason for the increase in electricity tariff,” he said. ( NAN)