The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says the controversial new electricity tariff will be unveiled this week.
NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi who made the disclosure at an energy workshop over the weekend in Abuja, noted that a final regulatory meeting would be held this week to conclude the process.
According to him, having met with Discos to finalise their tariff proposals as well as got feedbacks from government, the commission is set to unveil the new tariff.
“In our view, we have basically done the crunching of numbers. We have done the technical work, remaining the regulatory work. By next week, we should sign off on the new tariff,” Amadi said.
“It is not about tariff increase, it is also not about their financial outlaw”, he stressed, trying to douse the tension the proposed tariff hike has already generated.
Amadi said the commission would soon begin verification of accumulated debts owed Discos by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as military and police barracks, among other security formations.
His words: “The last government, through the SGF, gave instructions directing that the Accountant General’s Office should be deducting at source when we wrote and complained about huge debts.
“Since then that has not effectively been implemented. But right now in the new tariff we have discounted those MDA’s debt from their collection losses with the commitment that it will be paid and government is working on that.”
“And the last time we were at the National Assembly, we proposed to the House of Representatives a strategy that could in the future prevent any future accumulation of debt from government agencies.
“We said they should adopt the earmark strategy in the US, which means each MDAs budget should have clear earmark for paying electricity bills and those earmarks means you put in conditions that the money cannot be used for something else, if used for another thing it would mean a violation of the law.
“Also, as part of oversight function, the National Assembly can now demand certificates of compliance to be sure they have paid the bills. Each of the Discos has sent us how much they are being owed, verification will be done to ascertain the bills and NERC will present a plan of paying the debt,” he said.
NERC also revealed that the revenue shortfall that accumulated with its freezing of the Residential 2 (R2) class tariff earlier in the year when it approved a cost-reflective tariff in the Multi Year Tariff Order 2.1 (MYTO) would be incorporated in the new tariff to enable the operators recover their cost of supplies to consumers.
“We calculated the shortfall accruing to the freeze of the R2 and we incorporated it in the tariff because that’s part of the revenue of the operators and they have to recover it one way or the other,” disclosed Mrs. Aisha Mahmoud, NERC’s rate and tariff officer in her presentation.
“So, the Discos have now included it because we said it is their tariff. So, it is part of the tariff going forward,” Mahmoud added.
By Olisemeka Obeche