Tariff hike: 20% of Band A customers still without prepaid meters


electricity tariffOne week into the new electricity tariff regime, information flowing from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has indicated that over 20 percent of consumers categorized as Band A do not have prepaid meters, a major factor in determining actual usage for the purpose of bill settlement.

Consequently, the consumers would be made to pay on estimated billing, a practice largely discredited by both the consumers and the NERC as subject to manipulation and shortchanging of the consumers.

Band A customers are those who enjoy a minimum of 20 hours of electricity daily, who are supposed to know and control their bills in a transparent process, according to the NERC.

This category of consumers have been subjected to a 230 percent tariff raise in the recently announced tariff structure putting the new rate at N225 per kilowatt-hour, from N68 per kilowatt-hour.

Apparently referencing this challenge, the Vice Chairman, NERC, Dr Musiliu Oseni, has directed the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to prioritize the metering of the Band A customers.

Vanguard also learnt from industry sources that many DisCos would be unable to deploy the meters immediately as the prepaid meters are not readily available.

Affected consumers, especially small businesses are already contemplating rejection of any estimated bill and are ready to shut down in the event the DisCos disconnect them on account of unsettled bill.

Meanwhile, indications also emerged yesterday that the Organised Labour is planning to present a new minimum wage demand following the recent hike in electricity tariff by the Federal Government, claiming the 300 percent jerk up in electricity tariff has made nonsense of its earlier benchmark wage demand.

The Labour groups under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart, had last month presented a joint minimum wage demand to the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, TCNMW, through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, NSIWC, which is the secretariat of the TCNMW.

The joint presentation is contrary to what they (NLC and TUC leaders in the zones) proposed during March 8, 2024, zonal public hearings organised by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, TCNMW, across four of the six geo-political zones of the country.

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