The Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba has denied knowledge of reports about the alleged secret hike in electricity tariff that was reportedly implemented on January 1, 2023.
According to the minister, he is not in charge of matters relating to tariffs, and therefore all inquiries should be directed to the regulator of the power industry, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Naija News reports that the power minister told the House Committee on Power chaired by Aliyu Magaji, during a public hearing on the bill to amend Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 that the NERC chairman should be asked about matters concerning tariff because that’s his area
Naija News earlier on Thursday reported that information emerged that Nigerians would be paying more for electricity as electricity distribution companies (Discos) have secretly increased tariffs.
It was gathered that the cost payable by power consumers across the country has been reviewed by discos without any announcements.
Some consumers who noticed the hike took to the micro-blogging platform Twitter to react to the development, which is alleged to have been secretly executed by the distribution companies.
A Twitter user identified Oyibo Ediri, who accused the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) of secretly increasing tariffs wrote “AEDC has quietly increased the cost of electricity. Cost increased from N57.55 in December to N68.2 for tariff band A non-MD. No official statement from @aedcelectricity or @NERCNG on the increase. These people won’t stop to fleece us.”
However, the AEDC, via its official Twitter handle, @aedcelectricity, explained to Ediri that the tariff hike was based on the order of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
AEDC stated that “Good day, please be informed that the increase in Tariff is in compliance with NERC order,” but AEDC refused to respond further when another user requested the publication of current rates available as ordered by NERC.
However, this platform learnt that the power minister who is supposed to be in charge of NERC and other regulatory bodies said “Where is the Chairman NERC? He’s the one that does anything on tariff. I can’t speak on tariff. He’s the chairman of NERC that can speak on tariff.
“No, no, no, don’t put me in a corner. There’s a chairman responsible for NERC. You want me to tell you what does not apply and you hold me on to that responsibility?”
However until now NERC is yet to give any comment about the alleged order given to the Discos to effect the upward review in tariff.
Also in his remark, , the House Committee chairman, Aliyu Magaji disagreed with the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) over power generation and distribution in the country.
“They think and feel that there is a constitutional provision that gives them the right to form a regulatory agency in the country. NGF also wants each state to generate and distribute power across states of the federation.
“As a committee, we have received their documents, we shall look at it thoroughly and critically and decide the next step to take.
“Our intention as a committee is not to go after anybody but to break the monopoly; the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear on power generation and control.”