Electricity consumers back Reps over suspension of planned tariff hike

Electricity consumers, yesterday, hailed the decision of the House of Representatives Committee on Power directing the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend its planned electricity tariff increase.

In separate interviews with Daily Sun, the consumers urged Reps to take their directive a step further by insisting that no tariff should take effect until all consumers are metered. President of Consumer Advocacy Foundation, Mr. Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said the planned increase was a crime against consumers.

Ogunbanjo, while commending the House of Reps, said the legislators have been against the move by NERC since last year, saying their decision to listen to the yearnings of the citizenry is a demonstration that they have the interest of the masses at heart.

The consumer advocacy boss said it was wrong for NERC to mute the idea of tariff increase without consulting widely with consumers.

‘‘NERC had earlier denied that there was no form of increase. But increase or not, the House of Reps has now directed that it should be suspended forthwith.’’

In his reaction, Chairman of Magodo GRA Phase 1, Gateway Zone Community Development Association (CDA), Mr. Bode Ojomu, lauded the House of Reps for suspending the planned hike.

It, however, urged the legislators to take their action further by ensuring that no form of tariff increase is enforced by NERC until it puts an end to estimation billing.

‘‘This is a big intervention by the Reps to protect their constituents. We only hope they can follow it through to the end.”

He lamented that the Discos lack the capacity to run the power sector efficiently, saying their primary motive is that of profit as against effective service delivery.

But an expert in electricity law, University of Lagos, Dr. Yemi Oke, said it was wrong for the House of Reps to interfere in the affairs of the power sector since it was a privatised entity. He said NERC as a regulator should be an independent body but noted that the consistent interference in the activities of the agency show that the power sector was not truly privatised.

While condemning the timing of the increase, Oke flayed NERC for planning a tariff adjustment at a time consumers across the country are yet to be metered alongside poor level of service delivery.


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