07 October 2015, Lagos – The House of Representatives on Tuesday directed Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies (Discos) to immediately halt the proposed upward review of electricity tariff pending the conclusion of its investigations.
The order issued by the house was a result of a resolution in a motion on the issue which was unanimously supported by the lawmakers.
A member of the parliament Solomon Maren (PDP-Plateau) had brought before the house motion titled ‘Arresting the impending unrealistic upward review of electricity tariff by Discos’ which was supported by his colleagues.
In adopting the motion, 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 the 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 this 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 noe, 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 fallen oil prices as much of electricity is generated by gas which is a component of crude.
“That if not checked, these unwholesome practices will also slow down the development of SMEs which spur industrial development,” Maren said.
When the motion was put to voice vote, it was unanimously adopted.