Electricity Consumers Association faults NERC's proposed increase in tariff

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The National Association of Electricity Consumers of Nigeria (NAECN) has condemned the proposed increase in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), scheduled to begin on Monday.
The association’s National president, Mr Ganiu Makanjuola, expressed concern over the planned increase during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
Makanjuola said that the increment was untimely and would only compound the hardships that Nigerians were going through in the midst of erratic power supply.
“Before there should be any increment, the new investors ought to task themselves to improve on the current power supply situation.
“The stand of Nigerians and the investment community is very clear on this matter; we stand to reject any hike in the electricity tariff when the power supply situation is still erratic,” he said.
Makanjuola said that before the planned increase, consumers had been paying for more than what they consumed because of what he described as inefficiencies in the system.
He said that with the removal of fixed charges, consumers would not pay any money if there was no electricity supplied because they would only be paying for the energy consumed.
Makanjuola said that the association was highly concerned at the rate at which exorbitant electricity bills were being passed to consumers by the distribution companies.
He said that the bills were being dished out without commensurate services being offered by the distribution companies.
“Government should have addressed fundamental issues like infrastructure dilapidation, generation capacity and transmission, rather than tariff increment.
“There was no justification for the planned increment. Most of the transformers are faulty and needed to be upgraded, while the supply lines are overloaded and the cables are failing.
“There are fallen electricity poles everywhere and the new investors are not doing anything about them.
“Increasing the tariff should have been the last thing, after all these issues have been addressed.
“Increasing the tariff is helping the DISCOS to reap where they have not sown,” he said.
Makanjuola said that government should be more pragmatic with the DISCOS by making sure that they are able to improve their power distribution capacities before any planned tariff increase.
“It is only when consumers are getting value for their money that they will be ready to part with additional money,” he said.
The association president urged the NERC to mediate between the investors and the consumers because consumers were not getting good value for their money.
NAN reports that the NERC has said the new electricity tariff (MYTO 2015) will take effect from Feb. 1.
The NERC has directed all the distribution companies to abide by this directive and should not connect new customers without first providing them with meters.
It added that this was to ensure that the electricity distribution companies improved on their service delivery as their income depended on the quantity of electricity used by their customers. (NAN)