DisCos Accuses Nigerian Government For Disassociating Itself From Increased Electricity Tariff

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Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria (DisCos) have accused the Nigerian government, especially the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), of trying to dissociate itself from the July 1 increase in electricity tariff.

The DisCos said the increase in tariff and the commencement date were both approved by the NERC. The increase in tariff was initially scheduled to commence on April 1 but was postponed after the National House of Assembly urged the electricity companies to consider its citizens due to the pandemic.

A review of the new tariffs showed price increases would have ranged from 60 per cent in places like Ikeja, to about 73 per cent in Abuja, and about 78 per cent in Enugu.

Many Nigerians have condemned the tariff increase, saying the electricity situation should get better first before an increase. Proponents, however, say the electricity situation cannot get better unless consumers pay appropriate prices for electricity and allow investors to make enough money to reinvest in their infrastructure.

In a statement on Sunday, DisCos decried the alleged attempt by NERC to distance itself from the July 1 commencement of increase in electricity tariff.

Their stance was made known in a statement issued by Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in Abuja on Sunday. 

Sunday Oduntan said “We are in a regulated sector, We cannot take decision about a very critical aspect of the sector like tariff without a nod from the regulator (NERC).”

“However, what has happened in recent days is that our regulator is warning us not to mention their name or the Federal Government in any of our communication about the tariff increase with our customers. This is certainly very unfair.”

He continued “Many stakeholders have expressed their concern at the unusual silence of our regulator, NERC on the upcoming increase and it looks like a unilateral decision by the DisCos.”

“We will like to inform Nigerians that tariff review (upward or downwards) is the primary responsibility of NERC as our regulator.”

ANED is a group that represents the interests of the DisCos, many of whom are reluctant to tackle the government individually. 

The government, including power ministers, has refused to join issues with ANED; saying it has no dealings with the association.

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