Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria (discos) have announced that a new electricity tariff increase will be rolled-out with effect from 1 July 2020.
However, PREMIUM TIMES reported that the discos are accusing the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of trying to dissociate itself from the electricity tariff increase.
The discos said the increase in tariff and the commencement date were both approved by the NERC, which was initially scheduled to commence on 1 April but was postponed.
According to local media, the discos raised their concerns in a statement this past weekend issued by Sunday Oduntan, the executive director for research and advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in Abuja.
Part of the statement reads: “We are in a regulated sector. We cannot take [a] 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.
“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.”
Communications on electricity tariff increase
Oduntan noted: “We will like to inform Nigerians that tariff review (upward or downwards) is the primary responsibility of NERC as our regulator.”
He said that the discos were required to submit their proposals, adding that NERC had the final say
According to Oduntan, the discos were surprised to receive a letter from NERC warning them not to mention their name or that of the federal government in any public communications on tariffs.
“While it is our obligation to communicate the increase, it is also important for customers to know that it is following standard processes of tariff adjustments in the sector with approvals from NERC and the Federal Government.
“As discos, we believe in the rule of law. We will only carry out lawful approval and instructions by our regulator.
“The proposed increase and the timing of the increase in tariffs was done by NERC. It is their statutory responsibility. Discos alone cannot fix and approve electricity tariffs,” he said.