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Consumers decry high electricity cost as DisCos hike tariff

Electricity consumers are protesting the payment of higher electricity bills as the Distribution Companies (DisCos) hike their rates under the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO)…

Electricity consumers are protesting the payment of higher electricity bills as the Distribution Companies (DisCos) hike their rates under the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2022.

The MYTO 2022 was released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) last year with a projection of an increase from February to December 2022 and another increase starting on 1st January 2023; NERC also reviews the tariff every six months.

According to the approved tariff for Abuja DisCo (AEDC), residential customers on Band A tariff rose slightly to N56.28 per kilowatts hour (kwh) to N56.43/kwh. The worst hit under AEDC was Band D residential customers (8-hour daily supply) with nearly N10 increase from N33.20 to N42.88/kwh. The Band E (five-hour daily supply) increased by N5/kwh. Some other categories rose between N1 and N5/kwh.

Musa Okpe, a resident of Gwarinpa, said he recharged his meter to get about 50 units instead of the usual 70 units he gets for N10,000, noting that he saw 20 unit drop, depicting an increase in the tariff cost. “AEDC needs to inform consumers about the increase in tariff. They will always hide it only to surprise customers,” he noted.

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Beside this noticeable increment observed by some customers since Monday, customers complained that their nominal energy allocation rose on estimated bills but in actual consumption. NERC had recently approved a new energy capping for estimated bills effective November where DisCos increased energy allocation for the various bands based on alleged investments.

For instance, under AEDC, Jacob Onjewu, a customer at the Ado Zone in Nasarawa State said his bill shows he is Band E and consumes over 300kwh monthly with N15,000 monthly bill, but noted that the supply is less than six hours daily.

“How do I consume over 300kwh when the highest they give to us is six hours or less? The Band E itself is a name for consumers getting five-hour supply daily which is at most 150kwh for 30 days,” he queried.

Two DisCos in Lagos, Eko Electricity Distribution Company and Ikeja Electric, have sent out the new electricity bills to post-paid consumers.

The Magodo Residents Association (MRA) under Ikeja Electric confirmed the hike via its publicity secretary on Twitter. The residents pay a bilateral tariff of N72.40 rising from N61.75 on December 15, 2022, in line with NERC’s directive.

A consumer who paid N57.65/kwh now pays N68.30/kwh effective December 1, 2022 for residential 3-phase MD (R4) service band A, according to a customer bill in Lagos.

Reacting to the tariff raise, convener of the Nigerian Power Consumer Forum, Michael Okoh, said although the increase has been projected in the MYTO 2022 released in May, he however said it is not the right time to activate it.

“The current economic condition including high inflation rate was not the best time for such an increase as Nigerians are already battling high petrol and diesel costs with not enough electricity,” Okoh said.

NERC was yet to issue an official statement about the increase, but an official told Daily Trust that the existing projection of the MYTO 2022 was only being implemented. AEDC had responded to customers enquiries, saying the tariff raise was implemented in line with the MYTO.

By Simon Echewofun Sunday (Abuja) & Jide Olasunkanmi (Lagos)

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