Ahead of July 1 proposed new tariff regime,  Nigerians engage in panic buying

Ahead of July 1 electricity tariff regime,  some Nigerians have been engaging in panic buying of electricity units so as not to be at the receiving end when the new tariff regime commences,  Blueprint can report.

The media has been awash with reports of the likely electricity tariff hike of about a 40 percent increment ahead of July 1 despite grave silence from the power sector regulatory body, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The new tariff regime

Blueprint can report that the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had removed subsidies on electricity tariffs, and made a policy of reviewing tariffs every six months.

Also, the immediate past Minister of Finance,  Zainab Ahmed,  had in 2022, announced that the government had removed subsidy on electricity tariff.

Similarly, the Chairman of the  Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba, recently confirmed the removal of the tariff,  saying that the commission played a role in ensuring that tariff rates were regulated.

He said the electricity subsidy had been reduced in the past four to five years over its unsustainability regarding investors’ return on investments. 

The tariff increment is carried out under the minor tariff order review (MYTO).

According to reports, in January 2021, the electricity tariff was increased by 50 percent; also increased in January 2022; and in January 2023, it increased by 18.5 percent.

The panic-buying mood

However, to escape the initial hardship that the alleged planned tariff hike may bring about, this medium can report that some Nigerians who use prepaid meters have started recharging double their monthly recharges to escape the initial hardship that the new tariff regime may bring.

An electricity consumer, John Mark, who spoke with our Correspondent, said he, alongside other tenants, had agreed to buy electricity for N30,000.

This, he said, would allow them to avoid the new tariff regime on July 1.

He said: “We are not sure of what will happen on July 1st because some of Discos are saying that they will increase their tariffs because of the prevailing economic situations in the country. So, we are ready for it.  But to cushion the likely effect of this, in our compound, we have agreed to purchase electricity units worth N30,000.

“This will be done on the 30th of June. Now, by our calculation, we are planning to have extra units worth N20,000 because before now, our monthly power purchase stood at N20,000”.

Another consumer, Mr. Mustapha Ishaku, who alleged that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) had secretly started the new tariff regime, said he would recharge his meters ‘two times’ before the new tariff regime.

He said: “They started on the 20th of this month (June). I bought 40k and got 263 Units that’s 152 per unit. But ahead of July 1,

I am hoping to recharge 2 times what I have been doing monthly before month’s end. I hope the story does not change tomorrow though.”