DisCos bow to pressure, shift tariff increase to 2021 Q1

• deny lobbying for postponement 

The Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) on Tuesday said the new service-based tariff regime which was expected to take off July 1 will now take effect from 2021 first quarter.

It said the National Assembly(NASS) had on Monday called for its suspension due to their concerns on its timing and what they saw as lapses in the internal workability of the plan within the sector.

The  Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), an umbrella body of the DisCos stated this in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Mr.Sunday Oduntan.

He stated that the DisCos had at no point lobbied for its suspension as widely insinuated.

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“I am sure that right now, several attempts at justifying this conspiracy theory are being cooked up but what the journalist that wrote the story is actually insinuating is that the leadership of the National Assembly can easily be manipulated by anyone or group of people.

“The members of the National Assembly are representatives of the people. Based on the feedback they have been getting from their constituents mainly around the difficult financial realities, they called for a meeting which we attended and during the meeting, they laid out their concerns,” Oduntan said.

He wondered how DisCos, who had, ahead of the July 1 commencement, embarked on massive sensitisations across different platforms, to prepare customers for the new service reflective tariff as instructed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), call for its postponement.

Oduntan added that DisCos have also been at the forefront of the call for a reviewed tariff for years.

“Over the weekend, we had to publicly voice out concerns about instruction from our regulator which we felt will make our task of winning public confidence more difficult because we have committed ourselves to remove obstacles that will stand against the success of the take-off date.

“It is therefore extremely disingenuous for someone to come and suggest that on the eve of this coming to fruition, we will now be the ones to initiate its postponement,” he added.

Tribune Online reports that he noted that although the tariff increase regime was pegged for commencement on July 1, 2020, it has been postponed based on the recommendation of the NASS leadership.

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