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FG for Talks With Labour Over Removal of Petrol Subsidy, Others

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NERC defends new tariffs, says price will be commensurate to service

The Federal Government is planning to engage the Labour on the withdrawal of petrol subsidy and the new electricity tariffs.

It was learnt that the government was already contacting Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other unions.

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Wednesday said with the new tariffs, Nigerians should expect improvement in service.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said the meeting with the labour is part of series of engagement with stakeholders to secure their buy-in for the removal of subsidy and introducing of new electricity tariffs.

Ngige said: “We are going to engage with the labour unions and explain to them what has happened and what is happening. This is part of the engagement of all stakeholders in the country.

“Our revenues have dropped drastically; we cannot afford to continue with the huge subsidy which is benefitting only few marketers.

“We want to sit down with the labour leaders and show them the books why the withdrawal of subsidy was necessary. We will also explain to them how we are trying to make the operation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) transparent.

“Also, we will table all the indices before them on the power sector reform and the increase in tariffs. This government is not out to inflict pains on Nigerians.

“We will meet the labour leaders after resolving issues behind the ongoing strike action by doctors and some health workers.”

The NERC has assured that the new tariffs will be commensurate with the quality of service.

In a series of tweets, the NERC said the Federal Government had not absolved itself of the commitment to improve the quality of service to Nigerians through various interventions.

It said: “Electricity customers are to expect expedited metering and improvement in the quality of service.

“The introduction of the Service-Based Tariff will help reduce the perennial issue of estimated billing and lack of equity of pricing amongst others.

“The review will ensure that prices charged by DisCos are fair to customers but sufficient to allow recovery of efficient cost of operation, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business.

“Tariff will be commensurate to the quality of service measured by hours and quality of service to clusters of electricity customers.”

NERC also gave insights into other plans by the government, including interventions to protect electricity consumers.

It added: “The review will provide the path to transitioning the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to service-based cost-reflective tariffs by July 2021.

“The industry will achieve improvement in reliability and quality of supply on progressive basis, as well as incentivise the operation to expedite the metering of the customers.

“Electricity customers at the commencement of the Order will have their estimated bill capped to incentive metering by the Discos.

“The customers will be provided platform for reporting service failure near real time to the regulator. The Federal Government in 2013 transferred ownership of power utilities to new investors with the aim of improving access to electricity to Nigerians.

“Notwithstanding the transfer of ownership, the Federal Government has not absolved itself of the commitment to improve quality of service to Nigerians through various interventions.

“Some years down the line, customers are demanding improved quality of service and metering and the operators have approached the commission on what they will require to provide better service delivery.”

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