COVID-19: Nigerians to enjoy free electricity for two months

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Electricity distributors across the country have promised to supply energy to their consumers free of charge for two months to mitigate the pains of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.

The promise was contained in a statement issued by the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan.

He said the gesture by the companies, which comes in the form of a “two-month rebate of free electricity to their customers nationwide,” was in alignment with the federal government’s effort to assuage the pain on the people as a result of the Ccoronavirus pandemic.

Oduntan said the decision was in recognition of the challenging effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic and daily lives of the customers.

The executive director who is also the spokesperson for the DisCos, said details of the implementation will be made public later.

“We are also completely aligned with the plans to ensure palliative measures, including free electricity supply to all Nigerians for two months, to make life easier, during the lockdown period,” the official said.

Minister of Power, Engr Saleh Maman

Last week, the House of Representatives called for the supply of free electricity to Nigerians for two months as part of measures to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House said it was considering a second stimulus bill that will provide Nigerians with free electricity supply for two months.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, made the call at a meeting between the National Assembly leadership and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, and the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, among others.

The federal government had imposed a lockdown on Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, while many other state governments have also imposed movement ban on residents, to check the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the regulatory authority in the electricity sector, had earlier shelved the take off of the new electricity tariff regime earlier scheduled for April 1, 2020.

In December 31, 2019, the commission announced a new multi-year tariff order (MYTO) that it said would supersede the previous one issued since 2015.

The order involved the review of the electricity tariffs chargeable by the 11 DISCos for all categories of consumers in the country, except the residential category (R1).

However, NERC later clarified that the effective date for the new tariff had been shifted to April 1, although the government promised to continue subsidising electricity consumption cost.

On February 29, the commission again announced the suspension of the take off of the new tariff regime.

In its given Order No: NERC/198/2020 on the transition to cost reflective tariffs in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), NERC announced the decision to delay action for three months till June 30, 2020.

The commission said the decision was in compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to grant moratorium for certain federal government funded facilities throughout the period of the global economic crisis as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic.

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