The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has denied the upward review in its Multi-Year Tariff (MYTO) dated 31st December, 2019.
Its Chairman, Prof. James Momoh, said that there is no immediate tariff increase for customers.
The order which its reports went virile in both conventional and social media was titled: Titled: “NERC in the matter of the December 2019 minor review Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc”, in the case of the AEDC.
The commission said that “this order supersedes other orders issued on the subject matter, and shall take effect from 1st January 2020 and shall have effect on the issuance of a new Minor Review Order or an Extraordinary Tariff Review Order by the NERC.”
According to the order: “The Federal Government’s updated Power Sector Recovery Program does not envisage an immediate increase in end -user tariffs until 1st April 2020 and a transition to full cost reflectivity by end of 2021.
“In the interim, the Federal Government has committed to fund the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs payable by customers in line with the …”
Reporters that concluded that the commission had already done its consultation before giving the above timelines were surprised when Momoh said otherwise in Abuja on Monday.
Journalists that attended its pre-conference press conference on the 11th edition of the International Conference on Energy, Power Systems Operations and Planning (ICEPSOP), an initiative of the Howard University U.S.A with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States of America it is organising and hosting in Abuja were expected to restrict themselves to the business of the day.
But the commission was taken aback by the reporters’ insistence on the clarifications on the MYTO review.
Reacting to the review, he said that “There is no immediate increase in tariff for customers.”
Momoh however insisted that the review was the main mandate that the commission statutorily carries out every six months.
The widely reported order, according to him, was only a review that is subject to public consultation.
He added that in the next three months the commission will engage the public on a consultation.
His words: “The proposed tariff review is what we are mandated to do as a regulator. We did the first one around June, January is here, we have done it.
“We have no option than to do our jobs. We have done the review and it is subject to public consultation.
“In the next three months we will engage you for consultations.
“We have given the report card of what we saw based on all indices for doing the review. We did not say it is binding tomorrow morning.
“We said we are going to the second thing: consultation.
“The order is simply a communication of what we have done as a regulator looking at what it takes to increase or decrease tariff.
“If at the end of our meeting back and front, we say increase there is increase. If we say no increase, no increase.
“It is going to be based on our engagement at the public forum.
“We are going issue a press statement for one more time what this document (the order) in a layman language.
“That is the one you will all work on. No increase to tariff . We are not leaving any stone on turned.
“We don’t want any increase without negotiations with the customers wit AEDC, with MAN.
“I am a customer too. As customers, we will pay our bills. But if you suddenly change it, I need to know why. It must be for the good of everybody. Don’t forget, service must improve.”
The chairman noted that the commission will in the next few months put a ceiling to what amount the Discos can charge their customers under the estimated billing regime.
He added that it was to the advantage of the distributors to provide meters for their customers.
His words: “Our minds, acts is solidly behind making sure that Nigerians are provided electricity, Nigerians are metered and that Nigerians who need meters are already known.
“We will do everything to ensure that DisCos provide meters to our customers.
“Failure to do so, we have a back up plan, which is one of our regulations that will be out in the next few months.
” It will state the maximum amount you can charge the customers for which you have no been able to provide meters. In fact, it is to their (DisCos) advantage to provide meters.”