Electricity consumers on Tuesday expressed their reservations on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) move to increase tariffs for Eligible Customers (ECs) under the Competition Transition Charge (CTC).
The consumers made their views known at a stakeholders consultative forum on CTC in Lagos on Tuesday.
The CTC is a new rule to make prospective ‘Eligible Customers’ (EC) and other consumer class compensate the 11 electricity distribution companies for leaving their networks to buy power directly from generation companies (Gencos).
Mr Makinde Olanrewaju, one of the customers under Eko Disco, urged NERC to ensure its policy and regulations were more customer-friendly.
He said that that the CTC proposal tilted towards being anti-electricity consumers.
Olanrewaju, a hotelier, said that the proposal was aimed at making users leaving the existing distribution network pay additional charges to Discos.
“When a consumer leaves Discos network on the platform of under supply, NERC is also requesting for payment to Discos for leaving and we, as consumers, cannot support this initiative,” he said.
Another customer, Mr Olukayode Enitan, appealed to NERC to give more time for deliberations before implementing it, so as not to cause more hardship on customers.
Enitan urged the commission to enforce sanctions on Discos who failed to provide supply to consumers, adding that consumers were being over billed.
Several other consumers at the forum spoke in similar vein, expressing their reservations about the move.
Prof. James Momoh, Chairman NERC, while responding to their observations, noted that Nigeria was making progress in its power sector reforms, particularly in the area of investments.
Momoh said some of the Gencos, for instance, had expanded their capacities over the year, though these investments do not seem to be immediately felt because the population growth outpaces investments in the sector.
He explained that the proposal would ensure more efficient power supply, and not cheaper power supply, as the country braces for the Competition Transition Charge in the power sector.
Momoh said the CTC would create the platform for eligible electricity consumers, who consume over two megawatts of power per hour, to exit the Discos.
He said: “This is a balancing act which will enable large scale power consumers to balance out power consumed by smaller scale users for the overall efficiency of the sector.
“The CTC will create competition in the sector whereby eligible consumers can be served by the Gencos. It may not equate to cheaper power, but more efficient power supply.
“If an eligible consumer decides to opt out, the CTC is the balancing mechanism and will enable large scale power consumers to balance out the power used by small scale power consumers.”
According to Momoh, the stakeholders forum, which is being held across the country, is aimed at carrying Nigerians along in the next phase of the country’s power sector reforms.
Collaborating NERC’s position, Mr Nosa Igbinedion, a representative of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), commended NERC for the initiative and urged consumers to embrace it.
Igbinedion explained that the CTC was meant for companies who were using above two megawatts on their operations, adding that most major companies on their network were paying above N50 per kilo watts.
According to him, the process will protect customers who are paying lower tariffs once the process is completed.