House of Reps ask NERC to suspend electricity tariff hike

 


The House of Representatives has urged the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the recently announced tariff hike affecting Band A customers pending an investigation by the House.


It also resolved to set up a special committee to probe the power sector.


The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Kama Nkem-Kanma (LP, Ebonyi) on Tuesday during plenary.


Mr Nkem-Kanma, in his motion, faulted the arbitrary hike in the tariff and the discriminatory nature of the policy.


Electricity tariff hike

Earlier this month, NERC announced the increment in the electricity tariff but explained that only electricity customers in Band A would be affected by the increase.


According to NERC, only 15 per cent of the electricity consumers are affected by the hike, however, the decision has been generating negative reactions since its announcement.


Last week, the House Committee on Power held a summit on the electricity sector. At the event, the Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu, powers investors and different regulators spoke on some of the issues bedevilling the sector.


It is not clear why the lawmakers decided to summon the minister and others when the committee could have been asked to submit a report to the House.


Although the National Assembly is notorious for conducting probes without taking any concrete action from such probes.


exposed how some of the probes were used as conduits for extortion.


The motion

Moving the motion, Mr Nkem-Kanma lamented the discrepancy among the different categories of electricity consumers, describing the policy as discriminatory.


The lawmaker, therefore, called for an urgent intervention by the House to prevent the extortion of Nigerians by the electricity distribution companies.


“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,” the lawmaker told his colleagues.


Mr Nkem-kanma alleged that there was a failure of due process in approving the tariff hike.


He, therefore, prayed that a special committee, comprising the Committees on Power, Commerce and National Planning should convene a public hearing on price regulation.


The lawmaker also prayed that the House should appoint a well-regarded former regulator as a technical consultant to the special committee to develop templates for the determination of the legality and reasonableness of the procedure adopted by NERC in approving the tariff increase and establishing the performance benchmarks for the Discos.


The prayers were adopted when the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, put the motion to voice vote.

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