Suspension of Electricity Tariff Hike Extended by One Week
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The suspension of the implementation of the recent hike in the tariff of electricity in Nigeria has been extended by one week by the federal government.
The extension was agreed on Sunday during a meeting between the federal government and representatives of the labour unions.
Yesterday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, led the government delegates to meet with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Recall that on September 28, 2020, at a meeting between both parties held to avert an industrial action because of the hike in prices of petrol and electricity, it was agreed that while the removal of subsidy for fuel should be maintained, the price of electricity should be reversed to the old rate.
It was then agreed that a committee should be set up to have representatives of the government and the labour unions to review the new service-based electricity tariff policy for two weeks.
On Sunday, the suspension of the electricity hike expired and the committee met to look into their findings and at the gathering, it was concluded that another one week should be given.
“The two-week extension for electricity tariffs, which expired this week, will be extended by another one week.” the Minister of Labour, Mr Chris Ngige, announced while reading a communiqué from the meeting.
In the communiqué signed by the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo, the resolutions of the panel on the distribution of one million meters to bridge the metering gap in the country in the first instance was adopted.
This would be done under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) and the target is to provide at least six million meters to Nigerians free of charge based on the funding by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but the cost would be recovered from the electricity distribution companies.
The six million meters to be procured for the NMMP will only be through local meter manufacturers and assemblers. “This will create jobs and a new meter manufacturing sub-sector in the country,” it was noted.
It was further resolved that there would be a mandatory monthly publication of allowed billings in Naira for unmetered customers by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to make the capping regulation more effective.
“NERC will publish maximum charges in Naira for consumers without meters (in support of the capping regulation). Current rates at times are published in energy usage kWh and are difficult for consumers to reconcile against their bills,” it was stated.
It was also stressed that “Discos must refund consumers that have evidence that they were overbilled during the transition to the service based tariff. Any evidence of overcharging identified through the extended Ad-hoc committee scope will also be reimbursed by the discos.”
In addition, the parties agreed that after the expiration of the one-week extension, there would be a reduction of the tariffs by 10 per cent for band A, 10.5 per cent for band B and 31 per cent for band C.
“The immediate relief would be provided to citizens for a 2 to 3-month period (not later than December 31, 2020), being the timeline for the conclusion of an extended scope of work for the technical committee,” it noted.