The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend a fresh electricity tariff adjustment until a committee set up for the purpose submits its recommendation by the end of January 2021.

NERC has insisted it wasn’t a tariff increase per se, but an adjustment by N2 and N4 to reflect inflation and fluctuation in foreign exchange.

“On the contrary, the tariff for customers on service bands D and E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remains frozen and subsidised in line with the policy direction of the federal government.

“In compliance with the provisions of the EPSR Act and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E have been adjusted by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation and movement in forex,” NERC had said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mamman said the committee working on the new electricity tariff regime should be allowed to complete its work before any development or adjustment.

He said, “The public is aware that the federal government and the labour centers have been engaged in positive discussions about the electricity sector through a joint ad-hoc committee led by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity and co-chaired by the Minister of State for Power.

“Great progress has been made in these deliberations which are set to be concluded at the end of January, 2021.

“To promote a constructive conclusion of the dialogue with the labour centers (through the joint ad-hoc committee), I have directed NERC to forestall the implementation of the duly performed minor review (which adjusted tariffs between N2 per kWh and N4 per kWh) until the conclusion of the joint ad hoc committee’s work at the end of January 2021.

“This will allow for the outcome of all resolutions from the committee to be implemented together. The administration is committed to creating a sustainable, growing and rules-based electricity market for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he added.

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The last tariff hike was in November of 2020.

Labour unions have threatened to embark on strikes if the new adjustments are allowed to persist.