Reps reject move to increase electricity tariff
The House of Representatives has rejected a move by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to approve any increase in electricity tariff.
The resolution followed a motion by the deputy minority whip, Aliyu Sani Madaki, at the plenary in Abuja on Thursday.
In his motion, he expressed concern over the suspense created by the planned increase in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The lawmaker recalled that DISCOs recently alerted customers of a planned electricity tariff hike, hinging it on the Multi-Year Tariff Oder (MYTO).
He cited a circular issued by the distribution firms, adding that effective July 1, 2023, an upward review of the electricity tariff would be influenced by fluctuating rates.
Mr Madaki said under the MYTO 2022 guidelines, the previous exchange rate of N 441/$1 might be revised to approximately N750/$1, impacting the electricity tariffs.
He said under the planned hike, consumers within ‘B’ and ‘C’ with supply hours ranging from 12–16 hours per day would pay N100 per KWh, while Bands ‘A’ with 20 hours and above.
The lawmaker said consumers within and ‘B’ with 16–20 hours would experience comparatively higher tariffs for customers with prepaid meters, whereas a significant increment was expected for those on estimated billing.
He said the recent statement by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) directing its consumers to disregard the earlier notice of the increase in the electricity tariff hike was confusing.
He added that public members were confused about what to believe.
The lawmaker said the proposed increase is coming despite the inability of the operators to meet the threshold of supplying at least 5,000 megawatts per year.
He said this was after signing the contract with NERC, adding that it was insensitive to come up with a price increase of such magnitude when many Nigerians were yet to come to terms with the fuel increase.
Contributing to the motion, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos) and Rep. Olumide Oshoba (APC-Ogun) called for caution given the pain the Nigerians are going through occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.
Mr Benson noted the increased cost of infrastructure, which companies must strive to cover.
Mr Osoba, however, said it was impossible to control prices for a deregulated market.
Rep. Satomi Ahmed (APC-Borno) and Ali Isa JC (PDP-Gombe) insisted that the burden of the subsidy removal on Nigerians was still huge to bear in addition to any tariff hike for electricity.
Mr Ahmed said there had been virtually no investment in infrastructure since the DISCOs took over power distribution, as communities are still procuring transformers to be connected.
Adopting the motion, the house mandated its Committee on Power, when constituted, to interface with NERC to find common ground for addressing the proposed hike in the interest of Nigerians.