Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has reiterated the determination of the ministry to hold power sector operators accountable for service commitments through its regulatory agencies.
The minister, who spoke at the headquarters of the ministry while hosting the director-general of the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said although the role of his ministry was not to take sides, the new tariff regime had been made to protect the consumer as the ministry ensured that Discos and Gencos perform their responsibilities well and that they were held to their service levels.
He added that the ministry also stands between them and consumers to ensure that they do not profiteer against consumers.
According to a statement by special adviser to the minister on Communications, Hakeem Bello, the minister told the director-general: “I think that this last tariff seeks to achieve much for consumers in my opinion and I will tell you why, people were complaining about fixed charge and people were saying why they will take my money; but this last tariff stopped fixed charge, that’s a consumer sensitive charge.
“What the last tariff also did was to say how we stand to address the metering gap between the consumers and the DisCos. It also tried to address the issue of estimated billing so that if you dispute your last bill because you don’t have a meter you cannot refuse to pay, pay what you believe you have consumed and you cannot be disconnected,” the minister said.
According to Fashola, the onus is on the Discos to prove that a consumer has used the power they seek payment for and they cannot prove that the consumer used power without measuring it “and they cannot measure the power without metering it; and this was a way to incentivise metering.”
He noted, however, that consumers seemed not to fully understand the benefits of the tariff hence the present controversy.
Elucidating more on the reason for the new tariff bothering Nigerians, the minister, who maintained that it was more friendly for the consumers, added that it also meant to balance the interest of the Discos because “you cannot sell below your production price and if the price of gas has gone up, for instance, you must factor that into your price,” he said.
Still on the benefits of the new tariff, the minister noted that 5000mw was not enough for over 100 million people, adding that “we cannot improve on quality without having more power and one of the things that this tariff seeks to address is that private organisations can provide power and this is to ensure that if anyone who wants to pay for premium power can leave the public power space for people who want to stay there.
“The law provides for it so you can leave the pay-as-you-go for the premium power. These are some of the consumer beneficial deliveries that are involved and I think I can’t begrudge people this and there are a lot of emotions,” he said.
Also identifying the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative, CAPMI, as one of the challenges that should be resolved soon, the minister declared: “You cannot take people’s money without providing the service for which they have paid. I was uncomfortable with that.”
He said the ministry had ordered that the scheme be brought down so that people could get what they had paid for, adding that it was the responsibility of the Discos to provide metres for their consumers.

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