Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Band A: Reps urge NERC to suspend hike in electricity tariff

NERC approved an increase in the electricity tariff on April 3 for customers who enjoy 20 hours of electricity daily and are classified as Band A users.

• April 30, 2024
Electricity power line
Powerline

The House of Representatives has urged the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the implementation of the new tariff.

The call followed the adoption of a motion by Nkemkanma Kama (Labour Party-Ebonyi) at plenary on Tuesday.

NERC approved an increase in the electricity tariff on April 3 for customers who enjoy 20 hours of electricity daily and are classified as Band A users.

Moving the motion, Mr Kama said the aim was to restore public trust, protect consumer rights, and ensure regulatory accountability in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

He said the facts presented showed that the approval granted by NERC resulted in a staggering 300 per cent rise for certain consumers.

Mr Kama said, “What is more concerning are the reports indicating discrepancies in customer categorisation and widespread complaints regarding inadequate service despite increased charges.

“This situation has not just sparked national anxiety, but it also threatens regulatory certainty and investor confidence in the sector, demanding immediate attention. This motion argues for legislative intervention, underlining our constitutional and moral obligations to address the crisis and alleviate the burden on Nigerian citizens.

“It places a strong emphasis on the legislative oversight role over NERC and the electricity utilities, stressing the need for fair and just pricing and consultation with stakeholders in tariff determination processes. This is not just a responsibility, but a duty we owe to our constituents,” he said.

The lawmaker alleged a failure of due process in approving the tariff increase, which raised concerns over discriminatory practices and the disputed nature of government subsidies to electricity distribution companies.

Sequel to the adoption of the motion, the house ordered NERC to suspend the operation of the recently announced tariff increases and other conditions in the newly issued review of the MYTO.

The parliament resolved to set up a special committee of the Committees on Power, Commerce, and National Planning to convene a public hearing on price regulation.

The lawmaker resolved to appoint a well-regarded former regulator as a technical consultant to the house to develop templates for determining the legality and reasonableness of the procedure adopted by NERC in approving the tariff increase and establishing the performance benchmarks for the DisCos.

In his ruling, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas said that the relevant committees should ensure compliance. 

(NAN)

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