In a series of changes made by President Buhari’s administration, the president announced an increase in electricity tariff.
Giving justification for the increase, President Buhari in a statement said, “The other painful adjustment that we have had to make in recent days is a review of the electricity tariff regime. “If there is one thing we have heard over and over again, it is that Nigerians want consistent and reliable power supply. So the power sector remains a critical priority for the administration.
“Protecting the poor and vulnerable, while ensuring improved service in the power sector, is also a major priority for government. And our policies, like the social investment programmes and other socio-economic schemes to benefit Nigerians, show that we remain focused on improving the welfare of the common man.
“The recent service-based tariff adjustment by the DISCOs has been a source of concern for many of us. Let me say frankly that like many Nigerians, I have been very unhappy about the quality of service given by the DISCOs.
“That is why we have directed that tariff adjustments be made only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement, only customers who are guaranteed a minimum of 12 hours of power and above can have their tariffs adjusted.
“Those who get less than 12 hours of supply (B and D and E Customers) will not see any tariff adjustment. The poor and under-privileged who were on R1 lifeline tariffs in the old structure will be maintained on lifeline tariffs, meaning that they will experience no increase.
“Government has also taken notice of the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide metres for over five million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
“NERC has also been instructed to strictly enforce the capping regulation which will ensure that unmetred customers are not charged beyond the metred customers in their neighbourhood.
“In addressing the power problems, we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all. So, as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, we are providing solar home systems to five million Nigerian households (impacting up to 25 million individual Nigerians) in the next 12 months.
Solar power to add to electricity distribution
“We have already begun the process of providing financing support through the CBN for manufacturers and retailers of Off-Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids who are to provide the systems.
“The five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy, will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation This means that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
“The support to Solar Home System manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local metres will create over 300,000 local jobs while ensuring that we set Nigeria on a path to full electrification.
“The tariff review is not about the increase, which will only affect the top electricity consumers but establishing a system which will definitely lead to improved service for all at a fair and reasonable price.
“There have been some concern expressed about the timing of these two necessary adjustments. It is important to stress that it is a mere coincidence in the sense that the deregulation of PMS prices happened quite some time ago.
“It was announced on March 18, 2020, and the price moderation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.
“Similarly, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July but was put on hold to enable further studies and proper arrangements to be made.
“This government is not insensitive to the condition of our people and the very difficult economic situation and we will not inflict hardship on our people. Ministers and senior officials must accordingly ensure vigorous and prompt implementation of the ESP programmes to give succour to Nigerians at this difficult time.
Nigerians have been complaining of the new electricity tariffs saying that electricity is not stable and they are made to pay more for poor services by the Electricity Distribution Companies.
Nigeria have for years been battling with epileptic power supply and previous administrations had been unable to solve the problem of power.