In a move that took the consumers by surprise, the regulator of the Power Sector, NERC, approved an increase in electricity tariff with effect from September 1, 2020. In the opinion of the regulator, the new tariff structure is based on the hours of electricity supply available to the consumers.
There is clearly a need for the pricing template to “reflect competitive and market-driven components”, as a government spokesman has pointed out; nevertheless, it must be equitable. Years after a shoddy “privatisation”, the consumer has not gained the dividends anticipated. Nigerians, as have been seen in the deregulated telecommunications sector, are prepared to pay for services rendered. It is however punitively unfair for the distribution companies to put every obstacle in the way of the metering. The government must wield the big stick here. The conditionality in approving increases in electricity tariffs must be interwoven with the demonstrated provision of pre-paid metres. This is non-negotiable.
Overall, the key to unlocking the crises is to put Electricity into the residual legislative list and allow a thousand flowers to blossom.