Reps order suspension of new electricity tariff implementation

By Nudoiba Ojen

The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend forthwith the implementation of the new electricity tariff nationwide.

The House has following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, ordered NERC to suspend the operation of the new tariff.

Recall that NERC recently mandated electricity distribution companies to charge Band A consumers increased tariffs in a move aimed at ensuring a stable power supply for those who can pay for it.

However, many Nigerians accused NERC of migrating most consumers to Band A even as they complained of epileptic supply.

Coming under the motion of urgent public importance at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, a member representing Ivo/Ohaozara/Onicha Federal Constituency, Ebonyi State, Kama Nkemkanma, reminded his colleagues of the need to address key issues surrounding “The sudden hike in electricity prices in Nigeria.”

He noted that the motion “Highlights concerns over due process, fairness, and the impact on consumers. The motion aims to restore public trust, protect consumer rights, and ensure regulatory accountability in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.”

He said, “What’s 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.”

According to the Labour Party chieftain, “Key issues highlighted include the failure of due process in approving the tariff increase, concerns over discriminatory practices, and the disputed nature of government subsidies to electricity distribution companies.

“The motion proposes resolutions to suspend the recent tariff increases, establish a special committee for hearings involving relevant stakeholders, appoint a technical consultant to assess the legality and reasonableness of NERC’s procedures and draft a bill to improve regulatory processes in tariff setting.

“Overall, this motion underscores the importance of legislative action to address the challenges facing the electricity sector and ensure fair treatment of consumers while promoting transparency and accountability in regulatory decision-making.”

Following the adoption of the motion, the House ordered NERC to suspend the operation of the new tariff.

The also resolved to set up a special committee made up of the Committees on Power, Commerce, Delegated Legislation and National Planning to organise a well-structured hearing on the price regulation of NESI with the participation of the Minister of Power, Chairman and Commissioners of NERC, the CEO of all electricity utilities in Nigeria, President of the National Industrial Court, Trade Union Congress and leaders of chambers of Nigerian.

The House also resolved to appoint a well-regarded former regulator as technical consultant to the House “To develop templates for 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.”

It further authorised the consultant to work with the special committee to draft a bill “To provide for administrative procedures that entrench proper consultation and legislative review of the process for tariff setting in the electricity and other public services in Nigeria.”

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