Consumer Group Goes Against Electricity Tariff Increase

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Electricity tariffs have been increased by over 100 per cent this year if the percentage increase approved in the first quarter of this year is taken alongside the latest increase announced on Monday, the Nigerian Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network has said.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had on Monday announced the new tariff regime in which it raised the rates payable by different classes of consumers by over 45 per cent on the average.

Reacting to the announcement, NECAN, an advocacy group that was inaugurated by NERC, stated that this year alone, the regulator had raised the tariffs by over 100 per cent, and stressed that consumers were opposed to the move.

The Chairman, NECAN, Mr. Tomy Akingbogun, told our correspondent that documents made available to the group by NERC showed that in February, the commission increased the tariffs in the eastern part of the country by 47 per cent, adding that customers under the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company got 29 per cent increase during the same period.

He stated that power consumers in Lagos got about 20 per cent increase in the first quarter of this year, adding that the rates had been hiked by over 100 per cent going by the new tariff regime announced by NERC.

Akingbogun said, “Now, in December in the same year, in eastern Nigeria, they’ve added another 73 per cent increment, making it 120 per cent increase within one year. So, the Enugu Disco will now have about 120 per cent increase in one year. Abuja has got additional 69 per cent increment, and this brings the total increase for the Abuja Disco to 98 per cent, still within same year.

“Lagos has been increased by about 70 per cent, when you add it to the 20 per cent increase in the first quarter of the year, the figure will be 90 per cent increase in tariffs in one year. Now, on the average, based on our investigations, we have about 110 per cent increase in electricity tariffs across the country in 2015 alone. This is why we say that we need to meet the minister so that the public can actually state these facts before him.”

Akingbogun stated that the latest increase by NERC had revealed that the commission had the intention of increasing tariffs by 100 per cent earlier this year, but was forced to cut it down to 50 per cent following public outcry against the plan.

When told that the commission had stopped the collection of fixed charges in order to motivate customers to pay the new rates, he said Discos were illegally collecting the charges in the first place.

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