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Electricity: Anxiety, groaning among Nigerians over DisCos’ tariff increase, ‘forced migration’ to Band A Feeders

*Cross-sections of Nigerian electricity consumers express displeasure over recent power tariff increment for Band A Feeder customers, as the electricity Distribution Companies claim the latest arbitary unit price increment from initial N206.80K KW/h to as high as N250.00KW/h resulted from fluctuations in the exchange rate, high inflation, generation capacity, and cost of gas among other factors in the country’s economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Following the latest tariff increment for Band A power customers, cross-sections of electricity consumers have expressed frustration over Nigerian electricity Distribution Companies’ (DisCos) latest announcements to jack up the rate from existing N206.80KW/h to N209.50KW/h amid the current socio-economic challenges in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports several other customers have complained about their DisCos, especially the Ikeja Electric, for its unsolicited, forceful migration of their category from Band B to A, effective from July 1, 2024.

Photo: Ikeja Electric

Several DisCos Wednesday, July 3 had begun issuing public notices to the general public, noting that the power tariff for Band A consumers, expected to enjoy electricity supply for 20-24 hours, has been increased in line with the Multi-Year Tariff Supplementary Order, approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Earlier in some of the statements posted on their X handles Wednesday, some of the electricity Distribution Companies disclosed that the upward review of power tariff took effect July 1 this year.

Francis Agoha, Acting Managing Director of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), in a statement disclosed the firm’s tariff would be adjusted from N206.80/kWh to N209.50/kWh

Agoha stated that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had approved the increment, as captured in the Multi-Year Tariff Supplementary Order.

Rationale for upward tariff adjustment, by power providers

Agoha, Acting Managing Director of IBEDC, explained the adjustment was necessitated by several key economic indices, including fluctuations in the exchange rate, current inflation rate, available generation capacity, and the cost of gas.

He stated: “These factors have significantly impacted operational costs, and the new tariff will mitigate these financial pressures while continuing to deliver high-quality electricity services.

“It is important to note that this adjustment affects only our Band A customers.”

He further said: “The tariffs for Bands B, C, D, and E remain unchanged.

“We remain committed to providing reliable and efficient electricity services to all our customers across different bands.”

According to him, any change in tariff could be a concern for customers.

He stressed that the adjustment was necessary to maintain and improve the quality of services.

The Acting Managing Director also stated: “Our goal is to ensure that our customers receive the best possible value for their money.”

Similarly, Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head of Corporate Communications at the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) in a statement, “Upward Review of Tariff for Band A Feeders”, noted the premium customers would then, pay N209.5/kWh instead of N206.80/kWh.

Abdullahi as well affirmed that the new tariff became effective on July 1.

The KEDC statement noted: “Dear esteemed customers, the Management of Kaduna Electric informs the public of an upward review in the tariff of Band A feeders from N206.80/kWh to N209.5/kWh.

“The review is effective from 1st July, 2024, and affects both prepaid and postpaid customers.”

He stated: “Kaduna Electric assures customers on its Band A feeders of the continued availability of 20-24hr supply daily as stipulated in the Service Based Tariff regime.

“The public should please note that the tariff for Bands B, C, D, and E remains unchanged.”

Announcing the development also through a statement Wednesday,  Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), through its official X account said that the new tariff increment took effect from July 1.

The company stated: “Dear Valued Customer, Kindly be informed that there has been an upward review in the Band A tariff rate from N206.80 to N209.50kW/h.

“This review is effective July 1, 2024.

Rest assured of our commitment to maintaining the guaranteed 20-hour minimum power supply in line with the Service Based Tariff.”

Ikeja Electric and ‘forced migration’ of consumers from Band B to Band A

The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) has equally announced a review of electricity tariff for Band A consumers across its franchise network. IKEDC serves parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

In a statement issued via its verified social media account Wednesday, the power service provider also said consumers would be paying N209.5/kWh instead of N206.80/kWh, beginning from July 1.

The new rate, which is “in line with the service based tariff regime” is effective from July 1…, the DisCo said.

According to IKEDC, the tariffs for Bands B, C, D and E “remain unchanged.”

The statement noted that electricity consumers can “rest assured that this development will further sustain the improved service delivery currently being experienced across all Feeder Bands within the Ikeja Electric network.”

ConsumerConnect investigation, however, revealed that the DisCo was economical with the truth on its assurance on the social media that tariffs for Bands B, C, D and E remain unchanged.”

The IKEDC, in text messages (SMS) to several customers, Wednesday, in parts of Lagos and Ogun States, whom the firm claimed were formerly on Band B Feeders had been upgraded to Band A Feeders with additional costs, all without their prior knowledge of the move.

The company only explained on its verified X account July 3 how it came about the adding and migrating 13more areas to the Band A category, stating “premised on our demonstrated ability to consistently provide a minimum of 20 hours of daily availability during a performance evaluation period monitored by the Regulator (NERC), we are pleased to announce that we have obtained approval to add 13 Band A feeders to our network.”

The DisCo also stated in one of such messages to consumers in the 13 additional areas: “Dear Esteemed Customer, please be informed that due to a recent feeder upgrade and consequent increase in power supply in your location, your tariff class has been moved from band B to band A.

“Thank you for allowing us to serve you.”

Subsequently, in order to verify the authenticity of the message from the IKEDC to its customers in the areas, some consumer simply revealedthat they bought N2,000 worth of electricity each Wednesday evening, and immediately, they were allocated 8 units of token of electricity each, instead of about 29 units for the same amount prior to July 1 this year.

Checks indicated that the DisCos are rather charging electricity consumers N250 per unit of token instead of the announced N209.50K per KW/h they are claiming as the increased price for Band A Feeder customers.

It was equally gathered that the unexpected hike had been causing undue anxiety, unease, and needless concerns among several electricity consumers, who received messages from their DisCos in those areas since Wednesday, July 3.

There are yet tonnes of complaints about epileptic power supply in the last three days despite the DisCos’ assurance of getting 20-24 hours of electricity on the so-called Band A consumers in the category.

Electricity consumers lament DisCos’ tariff increment, sudden migration to Band A category

Sequel to the announcement on the latest tariff adjustment Wednesday, several electricity consumers have reacted differently to DisCos’ power tariff increments, especially in the social media space.

Also reacting to a text message IKEDC sent to customers, announcing the unsolicited upgrade from Band B to Band A with additional cost, a Septuagenarian said: “These people are mad; look at the SMS Ikeja Electric sent to me, notifying me of the unsolicited migration from their so-called Band B to Band A.”

Also a company executive, who preferred to be anonymous queried the rationale behind changing power consumers’ existing Band to another without being informed.

He told this publication: “This is simply fraudulent!”

Several others, who were taken aback by the company’s announcement of an upgrade to Band A category in Ajuwon, Akute and Alagbole areas of Ogun State, have frowned on what they considered as forced migration to Band A Feeders with higher financial implication to them amid the current economic hardship in the country.

Taking to his C page, certain @ChAAley10 reportedly wrote: “Your service to one day av, along Isuti, in Igando (area of) Lagos State, has been poor for over eight weeks, and till this very hour there’s no action taken to restore power supply to this area mentioned.

“This is getting out of hand, and residents have spent a lot on fuelling generators.”

A customer of EKEDC living at Festac Town, in Lagos, questioned if the estate is truly under Band A category under the DisCo.

The concerned consumer @dlomann picqued: “What is happening at Festac 01 33KV Ojo Barracks and its environs?

“Light has been off for 84 hours straight. Are you sure we are on Band A? Light out for 4 straight days and nothing heard from you guys.

“These guys are out to bury this country.”

He tweeted: “If this is not madness, pls tell me what I can call it.

“1-u guys haven’t updated ur infrastructure in years, they are obsolete.

“2-u haven’t increased power generation 3-u can’t justify 4hr difference btw Band A & B 4-u have increased it d 2nd time, & no light for 24 hrs.”

@Dt_bello1 wrote: “Even when they announced #206.6kw/h tariff, it was a big lie, the cost was #222.2kw/h.

“The electricity distribution companies are liars, lying to the public.”

@mz_fejiroo, however, urged the electricity DisCos to “fix” their customers before increasing tariffs.

“You are increasing fee, but refuse to attend to issues people having band A are facing. Fix your customer system It’s terrible!!!!!” State he.

In a comment via her social media account, @Nkechinyer54391 noted she hopes for a “better government” to scrap the DisCos.

“This is where we would see your hard work. The only time you people function well is when you’re increasing tariffs.

“Give us good service, you won’t. I hope we’ll get a better government that would scrap you all. Just send all of you to Sambisa forest!”

@GFCLASSIS also expressed frustration over the increment, stating “the only thing you people know how to do is increase tariff.

“You don’t care that companies can’t afford to pay and they’re leaving the country.

“Even the Band A you’re not giving steady electricity. You people should continue with your increment.”

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