The recent increase in electricity tariffs in Nigeria has sparked opposition from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and various civil society organizations (CSOs). Critics argue that the explanations provided by government officials for the hike lack merit, emphasizing that even in developed nations, citizens benefit from subsidies on essential utilities such as fuel and electricity,Daily Trust reports.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently announced a tariff hike from N68 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to N225 per kWh. This decision, according to the commission, resulted from consultations with the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) and the federal government’s inability to cover the projected N2.9 trillion electricity subsidy shortfall by the end of 2024, thus failing to achieve cost-reflective tariffs.

Under the new tariff structure, consumers served by Band A feeders, experiencing an average of 20 hours of power supply daily, face monthly bills of around N135,000. NERC’s Vice Chairman, Musiliu Oseni, clarified that the tariff increase primarily affects 15% of the 12 million electricity consumers, with Band A customers facing adjustments to ensure better service delivery.

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To enforce accountability, NERC mandates Discos to publish a seven-day rolling average of service delivery on their websites and establish response teams for affected areas. Failure to meet service commitments results in penalties, including feeder downgrades and compensation to customers.

NERC’s Commissioner for Planning Research and Strategy, Yusuf Ali, attributes the tariff review to factors like gas price impacts and currency unification, with the January subsidy alone amounting to N240 billion, posing a significant strain on Nigeria’s budget.

The NLC criticized the tariff hike as insensitive and detrimental to already struggling Nigerians, particularly in the wake of fuel subsidy removal. Similarly, CSOs like the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) and ActionAid Nigeria condemned the move, alleging government neglect of citizen welfare and advocating for alternative solutions to address energy sector challenges.

Former NERC Chairman Sam Amadi warned that the tariff increase could exacerbate power theft and corruption, stressing the need for measures to support both utility companies and consumers amidst economic challenges.


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