After several denials about plans to review upwards, electricity tariffs, Nigeria’s National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday in Abuja formally unveiled the plan, saying it will be effective from June.
The review may see rates increasing by up to 88 per cent, according to sources.
Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra state told State House Correspondents that the endorsement of the new tariff regime followed a submission made to NEC by the Chairman of the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, which favoured an increase.
The governor said the council considered and approved the proposed five-year Tariff Plan designed to enable investors in the power sector to recover their cost
Gov. Obi said that the increase might not affect some categories of people, particularly the lower income earners and the rural dwellers.
“What we approved today, there is going to be a decrease and increase. There will be a decrease for the low users and the poor people within the cities and the rural areas and there will be increase for the high users.
“But in the end, nobody is going to invest like they are investing in Ghana, in Chad, everywhere – unless we do something; because if you are a business man and you are being asked to put money where you are going to lose money, you are not going to do it.
“We as governors of the poor states cannot allow our people to go through more difficulties; the tariff that is coming up is at least 40 per cent lower than what you can pay, say in Ghana.”
According to him, the Federal Government has provided N50 billion in the 2012 budget to subsidise electricity supply to the urban and rural poor.
He said lifeline customers (low users in cities and villages) would continue to pay less with no metre maintenance fee or fixed charges, while the system would also ensure access to energy-saving bulbs, which could reduce electricity consumption by 40 per cent.
The governor disclosed that government would provide “free full metering of all customers between 12 and 16 months” to ensure that every customer was billed according to consumption.
On why a new tariff was coming in spite of the poor state of electricity, he said without the increase in tariff, it would be impossible to attract investment to the power sector.
He said there would be appreciable improvement in electricity supply in the country in the next few months.