No directive to hike electricity tariff January 1 – Discos

Power distribution companies, on Sunday, denied reports of electricity tariff hike beginning from today, January 1, 2024.

They said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had not issued any directive for such.

It was reported on Sunday that power distribution companies were planning to hike electricity tariffs from January 1, 2024, a development that was neither confirmed by the NERC nor the Federal Ministry of Power.

When contacted to confirm the report, three Discos as well as officials from the NERC denied the report.

The Head, Corporate Communications, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Adekole Elijah, stated, “We have not received any directive or order on that. I have also heard about the rumour, but it has not been confirmed. So at this moment, I am not aware of any such moves to hike electricity tariffs.”

He added, “I also read the claim in one of the dailies that there may be a tariff increase starting from tomorrow, but I’ve not received any correspondence to that effect. If there is a directive we cannot do it secretly, for once there is an increase everybody will know.

“So right now it is still a rumour, no order from the government or NERC directing us to commence or effect any tariff hike. At least till this minute that I’m speaking with you there’s no such directive.”

On whether some Discos were contemplating raising their tariffs from January 1, 2024, the Head, Communications, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Emeka Ezeh, stated that such contemplation would not materialise if the regulator did not approve it.

Ezeh said, “There is no directive from NERC on that. Before such a thing would happen there has to be a directive from NERC, which is normally issued as a regulatory order in that regard.

“But as we speak, I’ve not seen any order or received any directive on tariff hike. That is the position. And even if a Disco is contemplating a hike in tariff, if NERC does not approve, it doesn’t happen.

“Also, before it is implemented, there has to be an approval issued by NERC giving that directive. So that is the position. As we speak there is no order from NERC and as a result there is no hike in tariff.”

He insisted that, “Even if we Discos wish to increase the tariff from here to wherever, as long as there is no order from NERC to that effect, it won’t happen. So that is the truth of the matter. Until an order is issued by NERC, what you heard is still just a rumour.”

An official of NERC said the commission had not issued any order on tariff hike, but noted that minor reviews of tariff were usually held every six months.

“I cannot confirm that story as true,” the official, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.

Recall that the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, had stated in November 2023 that President Bola Tinubu stopped the implementation of a hike in electricity tariff and insisted that subsidy be paid on power consumed nationwide.

Speaking on the call for a cost reflective tariff, which would lead to a hike in the amount payable for power, Adelabu had during a press briefing in Abuja, said, “The power sector is an industry that is very sensitive to any leader.

“You cannot jump overnight and implement the cost reflective tariff. I can tell you that till today the government still subsidises power. Tariffs should have been raised months back, but Mr President said until we are able to achieve regular and incremental power supply we can’t touch the tariff.

“So there is a gap between the cost reflective tariff that we are supposed to charge and the allowed tariff. That huge gap the government is still handling it as subsidy. This affects liquidity in the system, investments and causes so many constraints.”

The Federal Government spent N375.8bn on electricity subsidy between January and September 2023.