FG extends suspension of new electricity tariff by one week

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By Joseph Bamigboye

The Federal government on Monday announced the suspension of the new electricity tariff by another one week after the completion two weeks suspension which expired on October 11, 2020.

The Executive Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh  said the extension is to enable the committee to review and work out modalities for the  implementation of the agreement reached on electricity tariff structure.

The extension was announced in Abuja when the ad hoc technical committee on electricity tariif submitted its interim report at reconvene bilateral meeting between federal government and the organised labour.

The suspension of the new tariff for two weeks which ended at midnight October 11,2020, following the meeting between the federal government and organized labour after the threat by labour to embark on strike over increase in electricity tariff and petroleum pump price on September 28.

The committee which was chaired by Minister of State for Labour and employment, Festus Keyamo and set up to examine the justification for the new policy inview of the need for the validification of the basis for the new cost- reflective tariff , agreed that the tariff should be suspended for two weeks, while the committee delibrates on it.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngegi while reading a resolution reached between the Federal Government, Organised Labour and the Ad Hoc Technical Committee on Electricity Tariff, said that adoption of the work plan for effecting the resolutions has been reached and  would be implemented by all stakeholders within the week by Sunday, October 18.

“Using of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) VAT proceeds to provide relief in electricity tariff. This is to leverage on the VAT from the NESI, the increases experienced by customers due to the transition to the Service Based Tariff will be reduced.

“That is Band A – 10 per cent reduction, Band B – 10.5 per cent reduction and Band C – 31 reduction,”

On the acceleration of National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), it was adopted that for the distribution of the first one million meters, the Ministry of Power was to liaise with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).

He added that they are to start work by October 12 to accelerate the roll out of meters with a target of December 2020.

The minister, therefore, said that the meeting agreed that it would work towards bridging the metering gap.

“The Federal Government committed to provide six million meters and NERC is expected to compel the DISCOs to meet the metering needs of the customers,”

Ngige also said on the resolution adopted for the Local procurement for Meters for National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) that organised labour would to work with government to improve and ramp up local production capacity.

He explained  that the resolution adopted on salary protection for electricity workers was that NERC should ensure that the personnel costs of electricity workers should be placed on first-line charge on the Primary Collection Account.

He added that the process would commence from Monday, October 12.

“On the issue of mandatory refund for any overbilling during system transition by the DISCOs that NERC should implement immediately within October.

“While on the freezing of customer band migration during the interim period that the revised NERC order will include specific guidelines on freezing band migration.”

Ngige also noted that the resolutions adopted for Phase two for the extensive review of key sector reforms include that the ad hoc committee would work from October 12 to December 12, to ensure that all outstanding issues are resolved and implemented.

He added that on resource capacity, the Managing Director, NEMSA, is also co-opted into the Technical Committee to work with NERC on the metering assignments.

He also said the resolution adopted on gas pricing was that the Group Managing Director was co-opted into the Technical Committee to assist with the purpose.