Nigerians Hang Between High Electricity Tariff And Estimated Billing
ElevateNews takes a look at the hike in the electricity tariff and how it will affect consumers.
With inadequate pre-paid meter and the tariff hike of electricity by the Federal Government, consumers are in for a serious battle with the power distribution companies across the country.
The protest against estimated billings is expected to reach a climax this year as tariff is now increased by 75 per cent. In other words, the former N26 tariff per kilowatts has been increased to N36, over N10 hike.
To get a unit of pre-paid meter, a consumer will have to register online with the Meter Asset Provider, MAP at the rate of about N38, 000. But recently, it was observed that pre-paid meter is being hoarded by the private companies licensed by the government to work with electricity Distribution Companies.
A manager at the Ojodu Undertaking of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Rufus once told me that the Meter provider company is slowing down the operation of the IKEDC due to inadequate supply of the asset to customers.
It has also been observed that scammers had broken into the pre-paid meter scheme, making many consumers to be cautious about paying for the asset. The procedure has allowed for this in that it is the Meter provider that gives the bank details to customers to pay but not IKEDC.
Ordinarily, the IKEDC is not supposed to interfere with how a customer acquires his pre-paid meter, however, it has to dabble into it because the DISCO will bear the brunt of any complaint, coming from customers.
The Meter suppliers have engaged agents who work to install this asset for consumers but these agents now demand extra cost from customers before installing the Meter.
Some consumers paid more than the N38, 000 to the asset provider company through the dubious agent to get a unit of pre-paid meter. There are many Nigerians that had refused to comply with this arrangement because of the bribery in it, yet they suffer through estimated billings.
And with the new tariff, many electricity consumers will suffer more pains of estimated billings.
In a statement by the spokesman of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, the new tariff will begin on April 1. This will enable more consumers to have acquired their pre-paid meter before then so as to eradicate the protest on the estimated billings.
The Nigeria Labour Congress sees the new tariff as a day light robbery in that the power supply is inadequate, yet the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had approved the new tariff.
To NERC, the new tariff is to recoup the revenue shortfall in the power sector but this will definitely hike the prices of other services, including the call and data cost by telecommunication companies. Nigerians have been robbed by DISCOs since 2015 when they came on board through estimated billings.