Electricity

Tariff hike: Electricity consumer group says NASS intervention timely

A  group, All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, on Thursday commended the National Assembly for playing a pivotal role in halting the increment in tariffs by the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

The group’s National Coordinator, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, said  in Lagos that the intervention by the legislative arm was timely and showed their commitment to the well-being of Nigerians.

The  DisCos had earlier announced plans to increase electricity tariffs for all categories of customers from July 1, but had to suspend it till 2021, following the intervention of the National Assembly.

Samuel-Ilori said: “I think we should appreciate the National Assembly for their timely intervention, as they seem to show that they really have the interest of the people at heart.

“It may be because they too are affected and they don’t have the choice of doing otherwise; but be that as it may, it’s a welcome development.”

He said that the intervention ought to have been done by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in line with the provisions of Sections 32, 63 and 72 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), 2005.

“While we appreciate their timely intervention in suspending the increase in electricity tariff, we also want them to focus on other pressing issues in the power sector.

“For instance, how the DisCos didn’t fulfil the condition precedent to the increase in tariff in the first place.

“Such condition precedent can be found in Section 76(2)(b) and (7) of EPSRA, 2005, which includes wide consultation with stakeholders and noticeable efficiency.

“The other issues have to do with metering and recent directive on capping, which repealed estimated billing methodology in Order 197/2020,” Samuel-Ilori said.

He noted that the group was in agreement with the position of Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, that for DisCos to expect any price hike, they must improve their service to the consumers.

Samuel-Ilori maintained that this was not a good period to increase electricity tariffs because the purchasing power of consumers had dwindled, due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy

He urged the National Assembly to continue to support more people-oriented policies, aimed at making lives more meaningful for Nigerians.

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