Following the current lockdown of economic activities and the many implications of the Corona Virus outbreak, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had on Tuesday announced the suspension of the proposed increase in electricity tariff expected to hike bills by over 50 per across the country.
NERC had in a December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 disclosed that it would increase tariff from April 1st, 2020.
According to NERC, it postponed the order for a number of reasons. Firstly, it claims that 60% of electricity customers are unmetered nationwide and is a “major impediment to both an immediate tariff review and revenue protection of DisCos.”
It also cited the COVID-19 pandemic that has significantly impacted the ability of DisCos to be meter customers through the meter asset provider scheme which it calls MAP. DisCos complain that it has been unable to import critical components required for assembling meters due to the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase, which has been described by most stakeholders as one of the most callous decisions in the face epileptic power supply, the Chairman of NERC, Prof. James Momoh signed an order, which suspended the move.
NERC has, in the past few weeks, held consultations as required to enable stakeholders, especially consumers voice out their opinion on the proposed increase.
All electricity tariffs increases have been suspended until June 30th when it will be revisited. While this makes the government look good Nigerians continue to bear the cost of a tariff subsidy especially now that government revenues are in dire straights.