Electricity Distribution Companies have insisted that the plan to increase electricity tariff on July 1, 2020 had the approval of both the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and Federal Government.
The DisCos in a statement on Sunday by the Executive Director of Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, through their umbrella body, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, expressed concern that NERC was trying to distance itself from the new service-based electricity tariff regime.
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. 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.
“We’ll like to inform Nigerians that tariff review (upward or downwards) is the primary responsibility of NERC as our regulator. We are required to submit our proposals and they have the final say.”
ANED explained that they received a letter from NERC warning them not to mention their name or that of government in any public communications on tariffs.
The statement added, “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.”
"We are very sensitive to the feelings and yearnings of our customers during this period of COVID-19.
“To demonstrate our sensitivity, Nigerians will recall that the DisCos, in conjunction with the National Assembly, came out to suggest a two-month free electricity supply for residential customers but the proposal was not approved by the Federal Government due to paucity of funds occasioned by the reduction of national incomes from sales of crude oil."