Electricity tariff: NERC panel adjourns verdict on MAN’s petition

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A panel of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), on Thursday, adjourned its verdict on the petition by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) indefinitely.

The Vice Chairman of NERC, who doubles as chairman of the panel, Dr Musiliu Oseni, said that the commission would take some time to review the petition and come up with a fair verdict.

Oseni said that NERC was created to serve the overall interest of the Nigerian people.

He said that the panel would be guided by justice and fairness in arriving at a verdict on the petition.

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The chairman urged MAN to prevail on its members not to take the law into their hands by refusing to pay the prevailing electricity tariff.

Earlier, counsel to MAN, Mr Tola Oshodi, urged the electricity regulator to reverse the recently hiked  tariff for Band A consumers, as it was inimical to the manufacturing sector.

According to Oshodi, manufacturers on that band are now made to pay an electricity tariff that is four times higher than the previous one.

He said that the situation was forcing many manufacturing companies to close shop.

“We are here to appeal; MAN was not given an opportunity to make representation before the new tariff was fixed.

“MAN is recognised in the guidelines as a stakeholder that must be engaged before such decisions, but it never happened. The provision for stakeholders’ engagement was not complied with.

“We appeal that the new tariff should be suspended as we go through the process of engagement, ” he said.

The Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Kadiri, urged NERC to take cognisance of the challenges faced by manufacturers in the country.

Kadiri said that Nigerian manufacturers were going through one of the most turbulent periods of their existence.

“I come from a constituency where we have capacity utilisation of 48 per cent. Power to the manufacturer is like blood to human beings; power is critical to us.

“This tariff increase is coming on the back of the removal of petrol subsidy, high inflation, and high exchange rate.

“We are being uncompetitive; more than 36 companies have been disconnected as of today.

“With this increase, the DISCOs will survive and the manufacturers will die, ” he said.

Mr Kola Adesina, Board Chairman of Ikeja Electric, said that the panel session would play an integral role in future collaboration between MAN and electricity producers.

Adesina said that electricity producers were also adversely affected by economic indices like the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, and inflation, adding that the sector had been subsidised over the years.

“With 26.25 per cent MPR, we just cannot compete. And we do not have the opportunity to put the cost on consumers like MAN, ” he said.(NAN)

By Kadiri Abdulrahman

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