Power Minister Warns of Nationwide Blackout in Three Months

Senate Committee Raises Concerns Amidst Dispute Over Electricity Pricing and Sector Revitalization

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has issued a stark warning of a potential nationwide blackout within the next three months if the proposed electricity tariff hike is not put into effect. Adelabu made this revelation during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Power in Abuja, as part of an investigative hearing concerning the recent tariff adjustment by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Senate committee, led by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, had previously rejected the new tariff regime, prompting a contentious debate over the future of electricity pricing and sector revitalization.

Adelabu emphasized the critical need for tariff adjustments, stating that failure to implement the hike would lead to a catastrophic shutdown of the entire electricity sector. He underscored the necessity of attracting investors and funding, citing an estimated requirement of $10 billion annually for the next decade to address the sector’s infrastructure challenges.

“The entire sector will be grounded if we don’t increase the tariff,” Adelabu cautioned. “We must make this sector attractive to investors and lenders by adopting commercial pricing.”

However, members of the Senate committee voiced concerns over the potential impact on Nigerian citizens, advocating for alternative solutions to ensure sector sustainability without unduly burdening consumers. Senators Simon Lalong and Adamu Aliero highlighted the absence of prior consultations and the lack of palliative measures accompanying the tariff increase.

Senator Abaribe emphasized the need for practical solutions to ensure liquidity in the sector while addressing the outstanding debt owed to industry operators. He also raised questions about the non-appearance of a company called “ZIGLAKS” and its failure to fulfill agreements related to prepaid meter provisions.

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Key stakeholders, including NERC, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), power generation and distribution companies, presented their perspectives during the hearing, reflecting the complex challenges and ongoing debates surrounding Nigeria’s electricity sector.

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