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Electricity Tariff Hike: FG Plans To Move All Consumers To Band ‘A’ In 3 Years,Says Minister




The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has unveiled the Federal Government’s ambitious strategy to consolidate the power sector by merging the existing six bands into a single entity within the next three years.

Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, announced the Federal Government’s intention to unify the entirety of the power sector, transitioning from the current six bands to a singular system within the upcoming three years.

Speaking during a weekly briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in Abuja, the minister said the recent electricity tariff hike was the first step in government’s plan to completely remove subsidy payment.

According to Mr Adelabu, the federal government has spent about N2.9 trillion on electricity subsidy, adding that the government was still subsidising 85 per cent of electricity supply in the country despite increase in tariff for Band A customers.

He said the government was not ready to aggravate the sufferings by refusing to adopt 100 per cent withdrawal of subsidy on electricity.

“This tariff review is in conformity with our policy thrust of maintaining a subsidised pricing regime in the short-run or the short-term with a transition plan to achieve a full cost reflective tariff for over a period of, let us say three years.

“It is because of government sensitivity to the pains of our people that will not make us migrate fully into a cost-reflective tariff or to remove subsidy 100 per cent in the power sector like it was done in oil and gas sector.

“We are not ready to aggravate the sufferings any longer which is why we said it must be a journey rather than a destination and the journey starts from now on, that we should do a gradual migration from the subsidy regime to a full cost-reflective regime and we must start with some customers.

“This is more like a pilot (scheme) for us at the Ministry of Power and our agencies. It is like a proof of concept that those that have the infrastructure sufficient enough to deliver stable power, those enjoying 20 hours of light should be the ones to get tariff added,” he pointed out.

Mr Adelabu argued that anybody that goes into any business intends to first recover cost, then if possible, make some profit, explaining that the moment a business cannot cover costs, the sustainability of such business is doubtful and will be run aground.

He observed that if the federal government was to pay the about N3 trillion subsidy for this year, it would be more than 10 per cent of the national budget for 2024.

“The power sector is just a single sector out of so many sectors that government has to attend to. We have works, we have housing, we have education, we have health, we have defence and so on that are all competing for this meagre revenue from the government.

“So it will be very insensitive on our part to force or compel government to continue to subsidise at that rate of almost N3 trillion for the power sector alone.

“We just have to be realistic and considerate. We also must ensure that the regulators are independent and there is consequence management,” he stressed.

With a little above 12 million registered electricity customers nationwide, Mr Adelabu said the recent increase would only affect about 1.5 million customers.

The remaining 10.5 million customers, he said, would continue to enjoy government subsidy at about almost 70 per cent, until it is gradually phased out.

He emphasised that if the DisCos are able to comply with the service level agreement, which is 20 hours for Band ‘A’ at the minimum, it is still far cheaper than the alternative source of diesel and petrol generators.

“You will agree with me that the average cost of generating a kilowatt hour of power today, using diesel and petrol generator is not less than N450 to N500 because of the capital investment of purchasing the generator, the daily operational fuelling of the generator and the intermittent servicing of these generators.

“The cost is not less than N500. So, if we are putting the tariff at N225, I believe it is more than 50 per cent cheaper than running alternative. power sources,” Mr Adelabu maintained.