The House of Representatives has directed the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend any planned increase in electricity tariff pending conclusion of investigation into activities of players in the sector by the House ad-hoc committee investigating the activities of Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The committee, which is currently probing DISCOs as it relates to infrastructure and billing in the country, wrote a letter dated December 15, 2015 and addressed to NERC, reminding the commission of previous communications in which it was agreed that further actions be suspended regarding review of electricity tariff.
The committee in the letter signed by its chairman, Hon. Jimi Benson, referred NERC to all previous correspondences in respect of the matter.
“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,” he noted.
“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 reads.
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 further recalled that at the investigative hearing, it made an order that the Commission forward the list of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) indebted to the Distribution Companies.
The committee therefore urged NERC to also forward the list of DISCOs to it to enable it conclude its assignment.
Recall that NERC chairman, Sam Amadi, at the investigative hearing said 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, a position which prompted the lawmakers to demand suspension of any further upward review of electricity tariff pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
Source : Leadership