The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to rescind its decision to further increase the electricity tariff in June.
The adoption of the motion to suspend the planned increase in electricity tariff is due to the current harsh economic situation in the country.
The call by the House follows a unanimous adoption of a motion by a member, Rep. Aniekan Umanah (PDP-Akwa Ibom) at the plenary on Thursday, May 20, 2021.
Umanah said that NERC was established by the Electric Power Sector Act of 2005, with a mandate to license Distribution Companies (DISCOs) adding that the commission was to determine operating codes and standards, establish customer rights and obligations and set cost-reflective industry tariff.
The House of Rep. member said that despite the fact that NERC, in collaboration with DISCOs, had increased electricity tariffs 5 times since 2015 with the latest on January 1, 2020, Nigerians are yet to enjoy significant improvement in power supply and rather, have to deal with epileptic services on a daily basis.
What the House of Reps member is saying
Umanah said Nigerians had suffered unilateral exploitation in the name of estimated billing arising from the non-metering of over 50% of consumers.
He said, “Poor services by the DISCOs have impacted negatively on the socio-economic growth of the country as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Report of 2020 on Nigeria indicated that the manufacturing sector lost over 200 billion dollars to inadequate power supply while a whopping 21 billion dollars was said to have been spent by Nigerians on power generation sets within the period under review.
The Nigerian masses have gone through so much hardship in recent times arising from acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, farmers and herdsmen’s crisis with its toll on agricultural activities, displacement from ancestral homes, loss of loved ones, starvation arising from the inability to return to daily occupation and loss of personal properties running into several millions of naira.
Governments all over the world are adopting measures to cushion the devastating effects of COVID–19 pandemic on their citizens by providing a wide range of palliatives to those who suffered general distortion in their social life.
NERC is tinkering with the idea of a further increase in electricity tariff after that of Jan. 1, in a country where 2/3 of the 200 million population is grappling with the crippling effects of the pandemic.
The purchasing power of an average Nigerian has drastically reduced, any further hike in electricity tariff at this time will amount to overkill, lack of empathy and height of insensitivity.’’
The House mandated its Committees on Power, Poverty Alleviation and Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure compliance.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in April 2021, NERC announced plans to conclude the Extraordinary Tariff Review process for the country’s 11 electricity distribution companies, in continuation of a minor review which began in the first quarter of 2020 and had remained inconclusive.
- The minor review of the tariff in July, which will see an increase in electricity tariff, is based on changes in inflation, foreign exchange, gas prices, and available generation capacity, among other factors.