The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies (Discos) to halt immediately the proposed upward review of electricity tariff until conclusion of its investigation.
The resolution which was unanimously supported by the lawmakers was sequel to the adoption of the motion titled ‘Arresting the impending unrealistic upward review of electricity tariff by Discos’, sponsored by Solomon Maren (PDP-Plateau).
To this end, the lawmakers mandated the management team of NERC and Discos to “appear and brief the House on the issue to ensure that Nigerians are not short-changed.”
The lawmakers also directed NERC and Discos to “immediately begin the provision and installation of prepaid meters to every consumer nationwide.”
In his lead debate, Maren who vehemently opposed the proposed hike in tariff noted that “power generation and distribution across the country is in a state of comatose leading to the closing down of many industries thereby creating unemployment in our dear country while hampering on the development of SMEs.
“That this House indeed resolved against further collection of flat rates (maintenance fee or service fees) by these Discos which were termed illegal and not in tandem with best practices.”
The lawmaker, who called for the intervention of the House, noted that the commission has directed all the Discos to comply with the directive for upward review of tariff, adding that there are attempts by the Discos to devise “another way of collecting these monies under another guise.”
He argued that the distribution companies have failed to add value to the power sector since the privatisation and unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) two years ago.
“These Discos took over the distribution of electricity from PHCN close to two years now, what have they added to the sector since they took over that warrants increase in tariff?
“In many parts of the world electricity tariffs are reducing due to falling oil,” Maren said.