TARIFF INCREASE: Between NERC and the DISCOs, Who is Really in Charge?

By Comrade Haruna Braimoh

With the first attempt at opening up the energy sector in the time of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as president, when we came up with NIPP (National Integrated Power Project) or asked a question then, ” Can you deregulate what you have not been able to regulate?”! This question is still yearning for an answer till date hence the mirage that has become the outcome of the solution to our energy crisis.

By the statue of law, the NERC has the sole responsibility to regulate activities in the energy Sector including the activities of DISCOs. But an energy Sector that was buccanised into the hands of economic scavengers in the name of “PRIVATIZATION” can’t be regulated in a manner to reflects transparency and desire to drive efficient energy delivery.

The hard truth is that we sold electricity distribution into the hands of those we can’t really control. Moreover, in the privatisation process, these guys practically made sure they push through some documented caveats which went through in the NASS that has become the base for always arm twisting even the govt through the NERC to achieve their selfish criminal aims in the name of “Market forces”.

Basic economics should tell us that not every products and service have a direct reaction to market forces, hence reasons we have elastic and inelastic responsiveness depending on the kind, nature, and peculiarity of products/service been affected.

A nation of 200 million population with less than 4000 whiling capacity in distributing energy or electricity should never base its need for price increments on “Market forces”. Sadly in our clime, there are man-made obnoxious forces created to induce a price mechanism for wicked selfish gains; and sadly, the NERC by statue can only assuage but can fix these prices because “they are market-driven prices”.

However, if we had let these corporate economic rascals who bought DISCOs in 2013 know that electricity tariffs in Nigeria should not be handled in their way, but should be determined well with articulated needs looking at delivery, economic of scales of energy users, efficiency in delivery then we would not be in this crisis and quagmire, where inefficient outfits called DISCOs can begin to horsewhip NERC in their direction whenever they need to increase tariff when it ought to be the other way round.

We need a total revamping of the privatisation. Government needs to do “Buy back” of DISCOs through controllable investment, and later commercialise the energy Sector with sincerity.

Comrade Haruna Braimoh is the Director, Media and Publicity,  Advocacy Good Governance Network (AGGN)

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