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New Tariff: Mixed Feelings As Operators Lure Consumers With Increased Power Supply


Electricity poles in the community

Electricity poles in the community

THERE is mixed feelings among consumers as electricity supply curiously witnessed a slight improvement a day after the new increase tariff structure was announced on February 1.

MANY consumers say they are not fooled by what they described as ‘poisoned carrot’ by the sudden noticed improvement.

Indeed, hours after an increased electricity tariff was announced, power supply has witnessed a sudden new peak generation, leading to suspicion among electricity consumers.

Stakeholders in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry were unwilling to speak on the link between the new peak of 5074.7 mega watts and the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) which saw electricity charges rise as high as 43 per cent in some distribution companies.

When contacted, Director of Research and Advocacy for the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan, told The Guardian: “It is as a result of steady hard work on the part of Fashola and the power generation companies.”

But Managing Director, System Operation/Market Operation at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Dipak Sarma hinted at what he described as the twin peak achievements to enhanced cooperation among all the power sector stakeholders.

He also spoke of “concerted efforts by system operators at the National Control Centre and other stations to ensure that all generated power is wheeled to the distribution companies and that there is no stranded power.”

Indeed, a new record peak generation of 5074.7MW was announced on Wednesday. TCN said the achievement of the highest maximum daily energy wheeled nationwide of 109,372MWH.

Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, Clement Ezeolisah, confirmed the development in a statement issued from the System Operator.

He said the new peak generation of 5074.7MW was attained at 9.30pm on Tuesday, while the previous peak generation was 4883.9MW achieved the previous day, Monday.

“The previous highest maximum daily energy wheeled nationwide was 107,142.32MWH recorded on Tuesday, 26th January, 2016,” he noted.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had on Tuesday expressed optimism that given the various plans undertaken by the present administration in the sector, power generation would increase with additional 2000MW by the last quarter of 2016.

He stated this at the ministry’s budget defence before the Senate Committee on Power and Mines, adding that a lot has changed in the management of power in the country, in recent times.  Distribution of power is no longer government business, but has been taken over by private companies.

He said 2016 budget focuses more on the transmission, completion of on-going projects, refurbishing power plants and tackling gas supply issues. If all these, are well addressed, the expected projection would boost electricity generation in the country.

In an interview preparatory to the commencement of the new tariff, Acting Head at NERC, Dr. Tony Akah, told The Guardian that the new tariff would improve the quality and quantity of electricity delivered to customers and provide a fair return on investment for the operators.

He spoke of what he described as the attractions for consumers with the new tariff. He also vowed that it would not be business as usual for non-performing utilities under the new tariff regime, especially considering that the performance agreement that the new utilities owners had with the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) would now be enforced.

Akah spoke of how the Commission is focusing more on compliance monitoring and enforcement to ensure maximum benefits to customers.

He said:  “We have made it in such a way that every Nigerian consumer would know their rights, so they can trigger off complaints using all available legal processes. We are very confident.  Going forward, NERC will strictly monitor and enforce all its regulations and conditions that are stipulated in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO). It is not going to be business as usual.”

With the new tariff, he announced that NERC would now activate the Power Consumer Assistance Fund (PCAF) as provided for in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR) of 2015.

He said: “To mitigate against any tariff rate shock, the Commission (NERC) has developed the framework to drive an inter agency Demand Side Management or Energy Efficiency program to help electricity customers save at least 30 per cent on their energy bills by using less energy consuming appliances. The proposed initiative which is predicted on high level of metering for maximum impact would also entail energy saving tips.

On the implications of the new tariff on the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), he stressed:  “TCN has been receiving only about 30 to 40 per cent of its required revenue from the market due to Discos inability to settle their invoices in full.

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