Amidst poor supply, FG hikes electricity tariff by 300%

The Federal Government via the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved an increase of 300 percent electricity tariff for Band-A consumers in the country.

The NERC Vice-Chairman, Musiliu Oseni, who disclosed this known in Abuja yesterday, said power distribution companies (DisCos) will be allowed to raise electricity prices to N225 ($0.15) per kilowatt-hour from N68 for urban consumers this month effectively from April 1, 2024.

However, Oseni disclosed that the rate increase will be for urban consumers, also known as Band-A consumers in the country, affecting only 15 percent of the electricity customers in the country.

According to the NERC boss, these customers, who represent 15 per cent of the population, also consume 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Recall that Bloomberg news agency reported this anticipated hike, noting that it would affect about 15% of the population, who are said to consume 40% of the nation’s electricity.

The decision to raise the tariffs nearly threefold within weeks is part of Nigeria’s strategy to attract new investment into the energy sector and reduce the substantial $2.3 billion annual expenditure on electricity subsidies.

According to Presidency sources familiar with the developments, revealed that these measures aim to make the energy market more financially sustainable and appealing to investors.

Furthermore, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) recently announced an increase in the price of natural gas, which fuels over 70% of the country’s electricity generation.

The new 2024 base gas price has been set for power sector companies and commercial users, as stated by NMDPRA’s chief executive, Farouk Ahmed, marking a shift from the previous rate of $2.18 to $2.42 per one million British thermal units (MMBtu).

Since the privatisation of its generation and distribution sectors in 2013, Nigeria has regulated electricity tariffs through the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

In the same vein,  many broadcast outfits have lamented that the hike in diesel price has forced their businesses to either shut down or are operating sporadically, saying the Government policies are thwarting the broadcast landscape.

According to one of the broadcast industry operators, Femi Adefila, (PhD), “When I ventured into broadcast entrepreneurship in 2015, I had high hopes, energy, and conviction. I aimed to redefine the broadcast landscape in my space and contribute to the GDP. However, I never imagined that a liter of diesel would cost close to 1,600 naira in a country plagued by power shortages”. 

He lamented that, “With a population of over 220 million people, generating less than 5 mega-watts (MW) of power; it costs an average of N400,000 to stay on air for twelve hours for a small 2 kilo-watts (KWs) transmitter powered radio station operating on a 100kVA generator. How can such stations can be profitable or sustainable?

“I understand that this crisis isn’t unique to the broadcast industry; it affects all sectors of the economy. However, as storytellers, we often neglect to share our own struggles. We are like the butcher’s son, who feeds on bones.

He said, “I expect the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to defend our industry. I see representatives from other sectors addressing their challenges daily. 

“We provide them platforms for advocacy and help set agendas that spark public discourse. Other sectors benefit from our platforms, yet we remain silent and pretend to be strong.

“The broadcast space is youth-centric and youth-driven. If the Government continues to undermine the sector, more young people will join the already overcrowded job market”.

“Politicians may see the broadcast industry as meddlesome and disruptive, but it’s our responsibility as practitioners to defend our space before they suffocate it. 

“We must act before they stifle our industry and deprive it of oxygen”, he emphasised. 

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