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Disco to disconnect Unijos over N80 million unpaid bills

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The University of Jos is grappling with a steep increase in its monthly electricity bill, which has surged by 300% to N80 million as threats of disconnection looms.

The management of the Jos Electricity Distribution (JED) Plc has already issued a disconnection threat due to the institution over unpaid bills, adding to the university’s financial woes.

This sharp rise in costs was disclosed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tanko Ishaya, during a peaceful protest led by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the institution.

According to him, costs went from N20-30 million to a staggering N80 million due to recent tariff hikes, especially affecting Band A consumers, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Prof. Ishaya highlighted the severe financial strain this increase places on the university, noting that the monthly allocation from the government is grossly insufficient to cover the new electricity expenses.

“We budgeted between N20 to N30 million monthly for our electricity bill, but with the new tariff, JED gave us a bill of N80 million for April,” Ishaya explained.

He further revealed that the university’s monthly overhead stands at just N14 million, a figure dwarfed by the current electricity costs.

In an effort to manage these essential services, the university recently increased student charges, but this measure has proven inadequate.

Reports showed that ASUU members organized a peaceful protest to address the long-standing issue of the non-implementation of agreements reached with the Federal Government.

Prof. Jurbe Molwus,  Chairperson of ASUU at the university, represented by his vice, Prof. Kiri Jaryum, presented the union’s charter of demands to the vice chancellor during the protest. This move aligns with the directives from the ASUU National Executive Council, seeking to highlight and resolve the critical issues faced by the academic community.

Backstory

About 2 months ago, the federal government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), had approved a hike in the electricity rates for consumers categorized under Band A.

This was contained in a press statement by the Vice Chairman of NERC Musliu Oseni who, stated that the tariff hike would result in customers paying N225 per kilowatt hour, up from the existing N66.

However, NERC reduced the exchange rate for calculating the current electricity tariff for Band A customers by 16.03%, from N1,463.3/$ to N1,277.8 from May to December 2024.

This is revealed in the commission’s Multi Year Tariff order (MYTO) for May to December 2024 released recently.

The NERC MYTO was reviewed following the appreciation of the naira in the foreign exchange market in the last one month.


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