A consumer rights group, Consumer Rights Advancement Organisation, CRADO, has lamented that prior to the recent increment in electricity tariff; Nigerians had been paying the highest tariff per kilowatt in Africa and wondered what justification the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Company, NERC, has for effecting the hike.
It would be recalled that NERC had on February 1, commenced the implementation of new electricity tariff for residential and industrial users across the country. Under the new tariff regime, R2 customers covered by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, who currently pay N13.91 per kilowatt-hour (Kwh) will witness an increase by N9.60.
Consumers under the Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution areas who currently pay N12.87kWh and N13.61kWh respectively will witness a N10 and N8 increase respectively in their energy charges. Electricity consumers covered by Kaduna and Benin Discos who currently pay N16.90 Kwh and N12.54 kWh will witness an increase of N11.05 and N9.26 respectively in their energy charges.
For commercial consumers in Ibadan and Enugu who currently pay N25.18kWh and N24.01Kwh respectively, their energy charge will increase by N12.08 and N13.35 respectively.
But reacting in a statement issued over the weekend by its President, Mr. Adeolu Ogunbanjo, CRADO was assertive that, “before this increment, Nigerians have been paying the highest tariff per kilowatt in Africa and contiguous regions. We pay higher than Egypt and countries with stronger economies,’’ the statement said.
The group maintained that in view of the fact that metering is the contract equipment between the Electricity Distribution Companies, Discos, and electricity consumers; the Discos have continued to exploit Nigerians by the estimated and crazy billing system for majority of consumers, while deliberately refusing to make available prepaid meters.
The statement reads, ‘‘As there has been no significant improvement in service delivery, most consumers are also not metered in accordance with the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of November 1, 2013, which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers must have been metered.
“There are meter manufacturers in Nigeria producing all types of meters, various types of smart meters and transformers with the approval of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). It is highly unlawful and a flagrant abuse of consumer rights, for electricity consumers to pay the new tariff before getting the meters.
“Why should electricity tariff increase when the extant law for such increment was not followed in consonance with Section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005,” CRADO queried.
The organization ended by calling on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, to obey the subsisting No Increase in Electricity Tariff court order of May 28, 2015 by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos. It equally charged him to dialogue with financial institutions to increase their investments in the power business so that electricity generation can hit 7,500mw while ensuring that all electricity consumers are metered.