Electricity Tariff: FG Gives One Week Extension


THE federal government has extended the suspension of the new electricity tariff by one week, Prof James Momoh, the chairperson of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has stated.

Prof Momoh, NERC Chairman

Prof Momoh made this known on Monday, October 12, 2020 when the Joint Technical Committee on Electricity Tariff submitted its interim report at a reconvened meeting between the Federal Government and Organised Labour on Monday in Abuja.

The Joint Technical Committee on Electricity Tariff was set up on Sunday September 27, 2020 when representatives of federal government and of organised labour entered into an agreement leading to the suspension of an impending general strike and protest scheduled for September 28, 2020.

The new tariff was then suspended for two weeks although the electricity distribution companies, popularly known as DISCOs, did not comply with the directive for about 72 hours on the excuse that they had not been officially communicated. The window as stated in the agreement between government and labour ended at midnight on October 11, 2020.

Comrade Ajaero, Deputy President, NLC and General Secretary NUEE

The Joint Technical Committee, chaired by Festus Keyamo (SAN), the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, was mandated to examine the justification for the new policy. The secretary to the committee is Engr. Ahmad Rufai Zakari, SA to President Buhari on Infrastructure.

Other members of the committee include; Mr Godwin Jedy-Agba, Minister of State Power, Prof James Momoh, Chairman NERC, Dr Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen and Comrade Joe Ajaero, the Head of Research and Deputy President respectively are representatives of the NLC and Comrade Chris Okonkwo represents the TUC. Comrades Ajaero and Okonkwo are general secretaries of the two electricity unions. The DISCOs have are represented by a member.

Why One week extension

According to Prof Momoh, the one-week extension given to the committee is to enable it to review and work out modalities for the implementation of the agreement reached on the electricity tariffs structure.

Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, while reading a resolution reached between the federal government, organised Labour and the technical committee, stated that adoption of the work plan for effecting the resolutions has been reached. He said the resolutions adopted would be implemented by all stakeholders within the week by Sunday, October 18.

The amendments to the resolutions adopted, according to Ngige, include: “Using of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) VAT proceeds to provide relief in electricity tariff. This is to leverage on the VAT from the NESI, the increases experienced by customers due to the transition to the Service Based Tariff will be reduced.

“That is Band A – 10 per cent reduction, Band B – 10.5 per cent reduction and Band C – 31 reduction,” he said.

On the acceleration of National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), it was adopted that for the distribution of the first one million meters, the Ministry of Power was to liaise with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).

He added that they are to start work by October 12 to accelerate the roll out of meters with a target of December 2020. The minister, therefore, said that the meeting agreed that it would work towards bridging the metering gap.

“The federal government committed to provide six million meters and NERC is expected to compel the DISCOs to meet the metering needs of the customers,” the minister said, adding that on the resolution adopted for the local procurement of Meters for National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) organised labour would work with government to improve and ramp up local production capacity.

He also said that the resolution adopted on salary protection for electricity workers was that NERC should ensure that the personnel costs of electricity workers should be placed on first-line charge on the Primary Collection Account. He added that the process would commence from Monday, October 12.

“On the issue of mandatory refund for any over-billing during system transition by the DISCOs that NERC should implement immediately within October.

‘While on the freezing of customer band migration during the interim period that the revised NERC order will include specific guidelines on freezing band migration,” he said.

Dr Ngige also noted that the resolutions adopted for Phase two for the extensive review of key sector reforms include that the ad hoc committee would work from October 12 to December 12, to ensure that all outstanding issues are resolved and implemented.

He also said the resolution adopted on gas pricing was that the Group Managing Director was co-opted into the Technical Committee to assist with the purpose.

He added that on resource capacity, the Managing Director, NEMSA, is also co-opted into the Technical Committee to work with NERC on the metering assignments.


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