The Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED) has called on Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to address the widening tariff gap hindering effective performance of DisCos in the power sector.
ANED Chief Executive Officer Azu Obiaya in a statement on Wednesday said the widening tariff gap was due to the freezing of Residential tariff (R2) in 2015 for 18 months by NERC.
He said the removal of electricity collection loses in 2015 and non implementation of five tariff reviews by NERC were also responsible for the wide tariff gap in the sector.
Obiaya said N435.7 billion of under-recovererevenue in the sector among others were the regulatory responsibilities NERC should focus on.
According to him, ANED is fully interested in the urgent reset of the sector with the implementation of the Power Sector Reform Program (PSRP).
This he said would stop the sector from bleeding and promote investment drive, critical for injecting efficiency and provide electricity to relief customers from the current difficulties affecting electricity supply.
Obiaya also said that ANED had the legal backing to protect the interest of the DisCos, like other associations in the power sector.
NERC had in a recent communiqué said ANED activities were discouraged and that the association should not interfere with policy directives or regulatory pronouncements made by the Minister of Power or the Commission.
The communique said NERC had barred ANED from making any unwarranted remark against the minister and NERC Commissioners.
Obiaya, however, said ANED activities are guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the right of association.
He said, “The DisCos with their formation and membership of ANED are exercising this right, not different from similar entities in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) value chain
“The associations are: Association of Power Generating Companies (APGC), Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) among others.”
According to him, ANED represents the DisCos with a principal mandate of advocacy to protect the interest of its member companies, directly and indirectly.
He said the investors who had sunk more than 1.4 billion dollars in the acquisition and operations of the DisCos to date needed to be protected.
According electricity consumers customers who sought to enjoy the benefits of the best practices that resulted from the interaction of our members under the ANED umbrella must also be protected.
Obiaya said ANED’s expression or promotion of a viewpoint perceived as contrary to a policy should not be misconstrued as “interference“ in what the regulator was doing.
He said this particular in the context of the workings of an industry with multiple stakeholder interests