ecently, electricity consumers in Nigeria
have united in their opposition against a
recent attempt by the federal government
to increase electricity tariff.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had issued an order signed by the new
chairman, Sanusi Garba and one of its commissioners, Dafe Akpeneye, instructing distribution companies (DisCos) to increase electricity tariffs
effective January 1, 2021 by 50 per cent.
But, widespread condemnation by many Nigerians, stakeholders and sectoral leaders who expressed resentment at the ill-timed tariff hike, have
trailed the hike, coming at a time Nigerians are
facing a lot of economic challenges, with many not
able to boast of a regular supply of the basic necessity of contemporary life, and others groaning
under the weight of estimated billing.
Nigerians have not only seen any increment in
electricity tariff as ill-timed, but also as an attempt
to push Nigerians to the wall, another strategy to
tax Nigerians, etc, describing the policy as inhuman, insensitive, fearing that the policies would
push Nigerians further into poverty, insecurity and
impoverishment, thereby making life more difficult and intolerable for the masses.
Electricity tariff hike in Nigeria is one too many,
without an improvement in electricity supply in most areas. The NERC had increased
electricity tariff from N30.23 per one kWh to
N62.33, effective September 1, 2020. Consequently,
DisCos announced the implementation of a new
Service Reflective Tariff Plan (SRT) across their
franchise areas from September 1, 2020,
categorising their customers into five bands with
Band D and E not enjoying 12 hours power supply
and not affected by the new tariff plan.
But, electricity consumers had claimed that the
electricity DisCos were not adhering to the terms
of the new tariff regime they were implementing,
describing the tariff as being exploitative. They also
alleged that the categorisation was shrouded in
secrecy even as power supply drastically dropped
since the increment took effect, and accused DisCos
of failing to implement the capping on the estimated billing method.
However, after much uproar, against the January 1, 2021 hike, NERC spokesman Michael
Faloseyi, refuted the reported increment in a
statement stating that no approval was granted for
50 per cent tariff increase in the tariff order for
DisCos. Reacting, the minister of power, Saleh
Mamman, directed the NERC to inform all
DISCOs to revert to tariffs that were applicable in
December 2020, to promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the Labour Centres
(through the Joint Ad-Hoc Committee).
Mamman described reports of electricity tariff
increase by 50 per cent as inaccurate and false,
saying government continues to fully subsidise 55
per cent of on-grid consumers in bands D and E and
maintains the lifeline tariff for the poor and underprivileged. The measures, he said, all aimed at
cushioning the effects of the pandemic while
providing more targeted interventions for citizens.
Nigerians are already feeling the weight of the
increase in the cost of virtually everything that
makes life worth living, from foodstuff to transport
fares, building materials, petrol, indiscriminate
bank charges, Medicare, house rent, data bill, even
sachet water, due to the nation's economic
Therefore, the federal government should avoid
policies that could further impoverish or increase
the hardship the masses are already passing
What Nigerians want is for the Federal Government to initiate programmes to cushion the effect
of the outrageous increment in the prices of these
commodities that have direct impact on the lives of
the average Nigerian and retain the confidence of
the masses. Above all, they want supply of pre-paid
meters and regular, if not constant electricity
supply, to make up for the huge electricity tariff and
estimated billing they were already paying and not
huge taxes for amenity not supplied.