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Minister of Power Apologises To Nigerians Over Comment On Electricity Tariff

 Olushola Bello

…says appreciation of the Naira Against the U.S. dollar will force down electricity tariff

Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power

 The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has said that as the Naira appreciates against the United States dollar in the last few weeks, electricity tariff paid by Nigerians should moderate positively.

He also apologised to Nigerians for being careless with his speech that Nigerians keep freezers on for days due to low electricity tariff.

The minister was a Thursday guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.

According to the minister, the tariff is flexible, stating that if the Naira gains more and the exchange rate comes down to below N1000, it must positively affect tariff and the tariff even for Band A will come below the N225 kilowatts per hour currently being charged

“The tariff is flexible and I can tell you that even if the Naira gains more and the exchange rate comes down below N1,000, it must positively affect the tariff and the tariff even for the Band A will come to down below the N225 kilowatt per hour that we are currently charging,” he said.

On April 3, 2024, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) raised electricity tariff for customers enjoying 20 hours of power supply daily. Customers in this category are said to be under the Band A classification. The increase will see the customers paying N225 kilowatt per hour from the current N66. This development has been heavily criticised by many Nigerians, considering the immediacy of the tariff hike and the current hardship in the land.

However, Adelabu said, “The fact that the tariff for Band A, which is 15% of the total consumers will increase by over 200%, does not necessarily translate into a 200% increase in their electricity bill if power is properly managed in terms of consumption.”

The minister assured Band A customers of value for their money. He also assured Nigerians that consumers on other bands won’t be shortchanged by distribution companies as the regulators won’t hesitate to wield their big stick on any of such discos.

The minister further said the government has been working on ramping up power generation from about 4,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts in the next six months. He said 25% of Nigeria’s power generation is from hydroelectric power while the remaining 75% is from gas plants.

The minister said “the gas that is supposed to be the raw material has not been coming in adequate proportion” but the government has been working with electricity generation companies to ramp up power generated for the benefit of Nigerians.

He said the President Bola Tinubu administration plans to decentralise power generation across states of the federation and strengthen transmission and distribution of the energy to power Nigeria’s industrial transformation.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has apologised to Nigerians for saying they keep freezers on for days due to low electricity tariff.

“Anything we have said that is considered offensive, we are sorry about that,” Adelabu said with slight remorse on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.

The minister had come under fire from many Nigerians in the last week for his comment which was considered offensive.

Adelabu had told journalists in Abuja on April 4, 2024, that Nigerians lack the culture of electricity consumption management because of “cheap” power supply.

He had made the statement after the government announced a tariff increase for Band A consumers. The minister’s comment generated outrage with some persons calling for his removal.

However, Adelabu, on Thursday, expressed regret over his comment, saying it “was never intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians in any way”.

“It was a piece of innocent advice about energy consumption management which we believe will go a long way in reducing people’s energy bills. And that advice was directed at those that we believe that because of the recent increase in tariff will start enjoying 20 hours of power per day,” he said.

The minister subsequently said the new electricity tariff hike would only affect only 1.5 million of the about 12 million consumers in the sector

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