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Nigerians reject electricity tariff cut, demand total reversal

admin | May 7, 2024

On Monday, Nigerians expressed dissatisfaction with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s decrease in the tariff for Band A customers from N225/kWh to N206.8/kWh. Various groups, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, as well as electricity consumers and civil society organizations, called for a return to the subsidized tariff era in interviews with Hyai 89.5FM.

This reduction came just 33 days after the NERC raised the electricity tariff for Band A customers from N68/kWh to N225/kWh, a significant 240 percent increase.

The subsidy on electricity was completely removed from the tariff for consumers in the Band A category, comprising about 15 percent of the total 12.82 million power consumers nationwide.

The Federal Government anticipated saving N1.5 trillion due to the tariff hike, effective from April 3, 2024. Band A customers were promised up to 20 hours of daily power supply. However, the House of Representatives, organized labor, and the Nigerian Bar Association opposed the tariff hike for about 1.9 million consumers.

The House of Representatives urged the NERC to immediately suspend the implementation of the new electricity tariff nationwide, while organized labor issued a two-week ultimatum demanding its reversal. Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, defended the increase during a Senate Committee on Power hearing, warning of a nationwide blackout within three months if the tariff increase was not implemented.

Despite public opposition, the Ministry of Power’s spokesperson, Florence Eke, insisted that the new tariff would remain unchanged, stating that the government would not yield to pressure. However, 24 hours later, the NERC announced an eight percent reduction for Band A customers, citing changes in macroeconomic indices in April, particularly the appreciation of the naira against the dollar in the foreign exchange market. Electricity distribution companies in Abuja, Ikeja, Ibadan, and others followed suit by adjusting their tariffs accordingly.

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