The House of Representatives on Thursday directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the planned electricity tariff increase pending the conclusive of on-going investigative hearing.
The directive was contained in a letter dated December 15, 2015, issued and signed by Babajimi Benson, chairman, ad-hoc committee investigating the activities of Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCO) in Nigeria as it relates to infrastructure and billing.
Babajimi in the letter sent to NERC chairman, reminded the commission of previous communications in which it was agreed that further actions be suspended regarding review of electricity tariff in the country.
It said: “In paragraph 3 (three) of our letter dated 29th October, 2015 under the same subject heading, we requested you to suspend the implementation of any increase in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its investigations”.
“Further recall that at the joint investigative hearing with the committee on power, it was agreed that any tariff increase should be suspended until all stakeholders are carried along.
“Our attention has been drawn to various news items published in many newspapers of yesterday (Tuesday) 13 December, 2015 to the effect that your commission has concluded plans to announce the new electricity tariff to Nigerians this week.
“It is our opinion that any plan by your commission to announce new electricity tariff will run contrary to the spirit of the letter under reference and undermines the outcome of the investigative hearing by this committee as it relates to infrastructure and billing by Electricity Distribution Companies”, the letter read.
The committee further averred that “consequently, we hereby once again, demand that you suspend the announcement and/or implementation of any increase in electricity tariff until above stated issues are concluded”.
The committee had during the investigative hearing requested for the list of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) indebted to the Distribution Companies.
Recall that NERC chairman, Sam Amadi, at the investigative hearing alluded to the fact that distribution companies engage in over-billing and charging of flat rates due to the absence of effective metering system which he said would be addressed in the nearest future. This position prompted the lawmakers to demand suspension of any further upward review of electricity tariff pending the outcome of the investigation.