The Federal Government has cleared the air over the misconception by electricity consumers on the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, saying that the amount has been benchmarked under a five year tariff arrangement.
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, made the clarification in Abuja, while speaking against the backdrop of public outcry on fixed charges on electricity bills in the light of low electricity supply.
Besides, he also ordered power distribution companies to monitor, apprehend and detain electricity consumers involved in illegal connection and those who steal power. The government said electricity theft in Nigeria was alarming and was robbing the Discos of huge revenue, a development that had adversely impacted on the power sector.
He said, “When we say that we have not increased tariff, we do not mean that the tariff you paid in 2011 is what you are paying now, rather we mean that the order of the tariff published has not been changed. That is why it is called Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, which simply means that we have benchmarked the cost.”
He further explained that by June 1 of every year, the tariff changes such that there is a tariff for the next five years. He therefore called for customers understanding; saying that distribution companies, DISCOs, should not be accused of increasing tariff arbitrarily with regard to the fixed charges since it has been factored into the MYTO tariff plan.
Amadi said also that the Commission expects a robust metering of customers by the Discos, warning that reckless estimated billing must stop.
According to him, “Someone does not have a meter does not mean that he must be over-estimated. Meters must be read and customers charged accordingly.” He urged distribution companies to fast-track metering of customers, adding, “the Commission wants to see real action.
Amadi used the occasion to appeal to electricity customers to pay their bills and called on those who indulge in electricity theft to desist, and ordered the Discos to punish anyone caught by-passing meter, and be made to pay 50 times what was stolen.
He said, “There is rampant theft of electricity and we have said that the Discos should aggressively monitor, apprehend and report every customer who tampers with meter or steals energy at this crucial moment. Such customer will face the full rigor of both a criminal and civil sanction.