MAN, Stakeholders Differ On New Electricity Tariff

Yemisi Izuora/Ijeoma Agudosi
Ikeja  Electric at the weekend announced it will commence its  new  tariff  structure, effective today (Monday 1st  February),in  compliance with  the Multi  Year  Tariff Order (MYTO  2.1) as  approved  by  the  Nigerian  Electricity  Regulatory  Commission (NERC).

Ikeja Electric’s Head of Commercial, Mrs. Folake Soetan, said the cost reflective tariff  would  boost  the  capacity  of  distribution  companies,  strengthen  the power value chain and  improve the quality of service to customers across the nation.

According  to  Soetan,  the  new  tariff  would  further  drive  Ikeja  Electric’s continuing  investments  and  expansion  plans  to  ensure  sustained  excellent service delivery to all customers within its network.

“At  Ikeja  Electric,  the  new  tariff  represents  another  opportunity  for  us  to demonstrate  our  commitment  to  transparent,  equitable  and  reliable  power distribution  to  our  esteemed  customers.

We  are  passionate  about  service excellence and will continue to work closely with our customers to achieve our ultimate goal which  is:  let  there be  light  for all  Ikeja Electric  customers,”  she said.

The new payment structure will be  implemented across  five major categories including residential, commercial, industrial, special and street lights

Soetan said the company would engage all classes of customers to explain the implication of the new tariff on billing going forward as well as reinforce how customers can take advantage of Ikeja Electric’s various payment channels for convenient, reliable and secure bill settlement.

“Integrity, professionalism and transparency are some of the values that drive our  operations  at  Ikeja  Electric.

We  will  embark  on  multi-stakeholder engagements that will address all enquiries regarding the new tariff to ensure  full understanding by our customers. Our customers can rest assured that the
process will be transparent.”

She explained that in addition to the engagements, Ikeja Electric would attend to customer queries on the new tariff via  its contact center helplines, walk-in customer  care  centers  (IE  Serve),  dedicated  email  service,  Facebook,  Twitter and the company’s corporate website.

She added: “Ikeja Electric  is passionate about powering homes, communities,
lives and businesses across its network.

We are confident that the new tariff as well  as  our  ongoing  metering,  customer  enumeration  and  technical  audit projects will enhance the quality of our service.

We appeal for the support of our customers by way of prompt bill payment and exposure of energy thieves
and vandals  that attack our equipment and  installations.

This will make more power available to bonafide Ikeja Electric customers.”

Also, spokesman for Eko Disco, Godwin Idemudia has commended the initiative saying both the Disco’s and consumers will have a better deal this time.

” It would afford us the opportunity to have more funds to take care of our equipment and services to the people.

More revenue and investment in the system to meet the yearning and aspirations of our valued customers.
As for boosting performance, investment and revenue, the new programme will go a long way in this regard. The yield from the increase will surely be ploughed back into the system for network reinforcement, metering and general development of human and technical resources” Idemudia stated.

The consumer, he said has a lot to gain from this new tariff regime chief of which is the removal monthly fixed charge.
“This simply means that the consumer now pays for only what he consumes unlike in the past when whether the customer consumes electricity or not he must pay the fixed charge. In some cases you may even have a situation where the customer will not pay as much as he was paying before because the fixed charge formed an integral part of some customers’ bill. In all, it’s a win win situation for all stakeholders.

While the discos have more funds to invest for better services, the customer no longer pays that element of his bill against which he has all along complained” he added.

Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors(ANED) weekend justified the hike in electricity tariff billed to take effect today nationwide.

The association also said efforts are in top gear to commence the implementation of the new electricity tariff today inspite of stiff opposition against same in some quarters.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos,ANED’s Executive Director,Research and Advocacy,Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan,said the new tariff structure is the best thing to h‎appen to the sector if it desires market friendly and cost reflective tariff.

According to him,60percent of tariff paid by customers go to power generation companies,11percent to transmission company,4 percent to other stakeholders,while distribution companies retain meagre 25percent to run their business.

He said the woes of distribution companies are also compounded by the unethusiastic attitude of some customers to pay for electricity service or by-pass meters as well as sharp practices of staff of the companies to punctuate its revenue through connivance with customers.

He said Nigeria cannot attain over 160,000 megawatts of power generation it needed to tackle power insufficiency if it continues to promote low tariff regime.
He expressed disgust that Nigeria’s electricity tariff. Is the lowest in Africa,inspite of its population size and the resources sunk into the sector in recent years.

Oduntan added that the nation’s generates about 2,867 megawatts through gas-fired means,while 543 megawatts is generated through hydro stations.

Oduntan,who said the implementation of the new tariff ought to have commenced since January this year,disclosed that the price adjustment would be for two years with corresponding tariff reduction between the third and the seventh years.

He expressed displeasure over the ongoing campaign against tariff increase,saying it was orchestrated by forces whose interest is to kill the nation’s power sector in exchange for the promotion of their businesses.

He added that their persistent opposition to the tarii adjustment is laced with ignorance,mischief and corruption.

But then Speaking the president of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Dr. Jacob Udemba warned against flaunting of courts order by the Distribution Company (DisCo).

Udemba said a court injunction has been obtained by the association and that any act of disobedience would bring perpetrators to contempt.

“I don’t know about commencement or implementation of any tariff, but I can tell you that MAN went to court and obtained an injunction to that effect.

Last friday, I led a team of MAN members to a meeting with NERC in Abuja and we had fruitful discussion. However, when the issue of tariff was raised I reminded them that the case is already in court.

On that note all stakeholders at the meeting agreed to set up a committee made up of MAN members. One of the terms of reference of the committee is to review the tariff considering our position and whereby an agreement is reached we shall all approach the court for out-of-court settlement.

So the committee has started work and until we reach a compromise and approach the court any act outside that is simply contempt and disregard to the law” Udemba explained.

Speaking further, the MAN president said that even if the DisCo’s have eventually commenced the implementation, MAN members should be excluded. “They can implement for other categories of consumers but certainly not for our members else they risk serious sanctions”, he warned.

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