The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has assured Nigerians to expect improved power supply at a higher price as the country braces for the Competition Transition Charge (CTC) in the power sector.
This was disclosed by NERC’s Chairman, Prof. James Momoh during the commission’s public consultation with electricity stakeholders on CTC in Lagos on Tuesday.
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.
Eligible customers are electricity consumers who may purchase bulk power outside of the Distribution Companies in the electricity market, pursuant to Section 27 of the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act (“EPSRA”) 2005.
According to him, “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.
He said: “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 a 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.”
He added that the commission does not do things by fiat, adding that consultation is part of their core responsibilities to Nigerians, hence the need for the consultation to carry the public along in the next phase of the country’s power sector reforms.
However, some of the electricity consumers at the meeting kicked against NERC’s move to increase tariffs for “Eligible Customers” under the Competition Transition Charge (CTC).
Makinde Olanrewaju, a customer under Eko Disco urged NERC to ensure its policy and regulations were more customer-friendly, adding that the CTC proposals appear to be anti-electricity consumers.
Olanrewaju who claimed to be in the hospitality business 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 payment to Discos for leaving and we as consumers cannot support this initiative,” he added.
Another customer, Olukayode Enitan, appealed to NERC to give more time for deliberations before implementing the Act so as not to cause more hardship on customers.
Enitan urged the commission to enforce sanctions on Discos who failed to provide supply electricity to consumers, adding that consumers were being overbilled.
Collaborating NERC’s position, 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 most major companies on their network were paying above N50 per kilowatt.
According to him, the process will protect customers who are paying lower tariffs once it is completed.
Responding to observations from stakeholders who questioned the slow pace of development in the country’s power sector, Momoh explained that Nigeria is making progress in its power sector reforms particularly in the area of investments adding that some of the Gencos, for instance, have expanded their capacities over the years.
He also disclosed that these investments do not seem to be immediately felt because the population growth outpaces investments in the sector, explaining that over six million babies are born in the country annually and for investments in the sector to be felt, it has to outpace the rate of population growth.