By Chris Ochayi
MINISTER of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said Nigerians should expect increase in electricity tariff in no distant time. This is as he also indicated the Ministry of Petroleum has signified their interest to build certain critical pipelines to transport gas to the power plants that will add another 2,000 mega watts to the national grid within 12-15 months.
According to him, “By far the most complex challenge is the problem of tariff. It is complex because it is more in the hands of citizens than in the hands of Government.
“The role of Government is to set the tariff and in doing so, Government has committed to what is called a Multi-Year Tariff Order. This was done in order to attract investors to the market; otherwise we will not have achieved the privatization if the price of the product is not attractive to the investors.
“The tariff is the price of producing power. It covers cost of generation, gas purchase, transportation, transformers, staff costs and so on, disaggregated and charged per kilowatt/hour to make the business of power profitable.
“What Government did was to spread it over a number of years so that the impact is not felt at once but over a periodic incremental process. I know that it has been a contentious matter, but I make this fervent appeal to consumers to give us the benefit of doubt, to forbear and accept it.
As regards transmission network, the Minister noted that the amount of power that is available today is slightly larger than the capacity which the transmission network can support. He said, “We have identified a total of 142 (One Hundred and forty-two) projects of which 45 are at 50 percent level of completion and about 22 (twenty-two) can be completed within a year.
“The budget estimates are known and we intend to aggressively pursue completion to increase the carrying capacity from the generating companies, GENCOs to the distribution companies, DISCOs.