Legal Nigeria

Reps to NERC: Suspend hike in electricity tariff

The House of Representatives on Tuesday ordered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the operation of the recently announced tariff increases and other conditions in the newly issued review of the MYTO.

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

The lawmakers resolved to appoint a well-regarded former regulator as a technical consultant to the house 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 decisions were reached after the debate and adoption of a motion by Rep. Nkemkanma Kama (LP-Ebonyi) at plenary on Tuesday.

It would be recalled that NERC had one April 3, approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers who enjoyed 20 hours of electricity daily classified as Band A users.

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

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

“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 failure of due process in approving the tariff increase which raised concerns over discriminatory practices, and disputed nature of government subsidies to Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

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

Source: NAN