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Reps ask NERC to suspend new electricity tariff

Reps ask NERC to suspend new electricity tariff
May 21
12:41 2021

The house of representatives has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend its plan to increase electricity tariff in June.

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At plenary on Thursday, the lawmakers said increasing the tariff will further add to the economic burden of Nigerians owing to the perils of COVID-19 pandemic.

The green chamber passed the resolution following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Aniekan Umanah from Akwa Ibom.

In April, NERC had said it will introduce another tariff review for the 11 distribution companies (DisCos) in the country.

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The commission said the extraordinary tariff review is as a result of changes in inflation, foreign exchange, gas prices, available generation capacity and capital expenditure.

Leading the debate on the motion on Thursday, Umanah said despite increasing the electricity tariff five times since 2015, Nigerians have not seen a significant improvement in power generation and distribution.

The lawmaker said the poor power supply has impacted negatively on most businesses in the country.

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Umanah drew the attention of his colleagues to a 2020 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which showed that in Nigeria the “manufacturing sector lost over $200 billion to inadequate power supply while a whopping $21 billion” was spent by Nigerians on generating sets.

He said: “Despite those increases, Nigerians have not enjoyed significant improvement in power generation, instead they daily grapple with epileptic services from the DISCOs and unilateral exploitation in the name of estimated billing arising from non-metering of over 50% of consumers.

“The Nigerian masses have gone through so much hardship in recent times arising from acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, farmers and herdsmen crisis with its toll on agricultural activities, displacement from ancestral homes, loss of loved ones, starvation arising from inability to return to daily occupation and loss of personal properties running into several million of naira.

The lawmaker further said at a time when “governments all over the world are adopting measures to cushion the devastating effects of the dreaded COVID–19 pandemic on their citizens by providing a wide range of palliatives to losses of loved ones, jobs, businesses and general distortion in the social life, NERC is tinkering with the idea of a further increase in electricity tariff after that of 1 January, 2021, in a country where 2/3 of the 200 million population is grappling with the crippling effects of the pandemic.

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He added that “any further hike in electricity tariff at this time will amount to overkill, lack of empathy and height of insensitivity.”

The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers after it was put to a voice vote by Idris Wase, deputy speaker of the house.

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