Power distribution companies, on Monday, backtracked on their earlier announcement of a tariff hike projected to take effect from July 1, 2023, as they stated that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had yet to approve the hike.
Various public notices from some of the Discos seen on Sunday had stated that the electricity tariff would be raised by about 30 to 40 per cent for selected categories of consumers on July 1, 2023.
In a public service announcement from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, for instance, the Disco had said, “Effective July 1, 2023, please be informed that there will be an upward review to the electricity tariff influenced by the fluctuating exchange rate.
“Under the MYTO (Multi Year Tariff Order) 2022 guidelines, the previously set exchange rate of N441/$1 may now be revised to approximately N750/$1 which will have an impact on the tariffs associated with your electricity consumption”
But in an appeal by the same AEDC, issued on Monday, the firm asked its customers to disregard the planned tariff increase as approval for such an increment had not been received.
“Please disregard the circulating communication, regarding the review of electricity tariffs. Be informed that no approval for such increments has been received. We regret any inconvenience,” the AEDC stated in its latest announcement.
A senior official in NERC confirmed that the regulator had not given the Discos approval to announce the hike in tariffs.
“The commission did not give them such approval,” the official, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of approval, stated.
Reacting to the development, a former spokesperson of the AEDC and seasoned expert in the sector, Olabode Fadipe, said, “NERC never publishes any position or makes any official statement. It is the Discos that does that. Once the Discos receive approval from NERC, they effect the adjustment straightaway.
“Discos perhaps got approval for 1st July and chose to put their customers on notice only to be told that their action was hasty. That end users have been told to ignore the message does not mean that the increase won’t be affected.”
Although The PUNCH later reached out to a spokesperson for Ikeja Electric, Ayeni Akinola, who described the initial trending circular as “fake”, the circular advised customers with prepaid meters to purchase energy units in bulk before the price increment takes effect from July 1.
“If you have a prepaid meter, buying bulk energy units for your home or office before the end of the month may help you make some savings before you have to buy at the new rate.
“For those on post-paid (estimated) billing, a significant increment is imminent in your monthly billing, starting from August,” it stated.
The PUNCH also reached out to the Assistant Manager Communications, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Mary Anavhe, who dismissed an imminent increase in tariffs.
The PUNCH further reached out to the spokespersons for Eko Disco and Ibadan Electric, Babatunde Lasaki, and Busolami Tunwase, respectively, including the Executive Secretary for the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan.
While both Lasaki and Oduntan declined to pick up calls nor responded to inquiries on the development, Tunwase referred The PUNCH to NERC for an official response.
“We are not responsible for tariff increase or decrease, NERC is. We only carry out such directives from NERC,” she said in a response note.
However, when The PUNCH contacted Sani, he declined to respond to both calls and messages. A minor electricity tariff is slated to hold every six months. The last review was carried out in December.