The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) following the hit from the COVID-19 pandemic has directed the 11 Distributions Companies (DisCos) to suspend the Electricity tariff hike which was slated to commence today until June 30th, 2020.
This was necessitated by the global effect of the COVID-19 global pandemic and it attended impact on an average Nigerian.
The directive was contained in an order from NERC on the transition to the cost-reflective tariff in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) tagged, /198/2020, and signed by the NERC Chairman, Prof. James Momoh and the NERC Commissioner for legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.
The commission said in a statement; “there shall be no increase in tariffs of end-use customers on 1 April 2020.
This Order shall take effect from 1 April 2020 and shall cease to have an effect on the issuance of a new Order by the NERC.
”The electricity hike which was expected to take effect from today has been delayed because of the COVID-19 impact on the economy of an average Nigerian and the global economy at large.
The statement further noted the previous Order on the December 2019 minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015 and the Minimum Remittance Order (MRO) for 2020 ‘shall remain in force until 30th June 2020 when the new MRO shall be issued”.
NERC further explained that 11DisCos submitted their Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) and at the same time filed an application seeking for an extraordinary tariff review with a public hearing held from 25th February to 9th March for DisCos.
There was also a hearing on providing Tariff fro ancillary service for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on the national grid.
NREC revealed the stakeholders showed commitment and willingness to comply but services must be improved with appropriate metering.
A ‘wide’ 60 per cent metering gap has remained a major hindrance with many complaints of arbitrary billing.
It also said the COVID-19 pandemic has obstructed importation of components for local meter assembly to supply consumers under the Meter Assets Provider (MAP) Regulation, and that it was discussing with MAP and DisCos to review the expectations.
Meanwhile, the commission has given DisCos 21 days ultimatum from today to submit a new PIPs on how they shall recover their cost carefully with marginal profit by 30th June 2021 with the assurance the customers’ will get better services.
The DisCos were also directed to provide smart meters for their 11 kilovolts (kV) and 33kV feeders by 30 June 2020 so they can send real-time data to the Commission.