The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has filed a Notice of Appeal against the Judgment of Justice Mohammed Idris of the federal high court in Lagos, which declared as illegal, null and void the hike of electricity tariff in the country.
Justice Idris had on July 13, 2016, declared that the increase in tarriff by NERC did not comply with the provisions of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005.
The judge had also ordered NERC to revert to the old tariff with immediate effect, while he further restrained it from further increasing electricity tariff except it complied strictly with the relevant provisions of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005.
The court also awarded a cost of N50,000 against the respondents in favour of the plaintiff in the suit.
A Lagos lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi, had filed the suit in April 2015 seeking order restraining NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful and significant improvement in power supply at least for 18 hours in a day in most communities in Nigeria.
Justice Idris based on the application on May 28, 2015, directed NERC to suspend all actions relating to any increment in electricity tariff pending the hearing and final determination of a suit filed by the lawyer.
However, despite the subsisting court’s order, NERC in conjunction with the Electricity Distribution Companies(EDCs) commenced the implementation of the new electricity tariff on February 1, 2016.
Other defendants in the suit with the No: FHC/L/CS/768/2015 were Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Plc, Esco Electricity Distribution Plc, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Plc, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc, Kano Electricity Distribution Plc, Jos Electricity Distribution Plc, Benin Electricity Distribution Plc and Enugu Electricity Distribution.
In the Notice of Appeal, filed by counsel to NERC, Chief Anthony Idigbe before the Lagos division of the court of appeal, the appellate (NERC) set out 14 grounds of appeal for determination.
The appellant’s counsel is seeking an order staying execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Idris on July 13, 2016, pending the hearing and determination of the 1st defendant’s/applicant’s appeal at the court of appeal.
The affidavit in support of the Motion on Notice for the stay of execution as deposed to by Martins Nwankwo, stated that “refusal to grant this application will result in devastating consequences for the nation and indeed the entire electricity consumers in Nigeria as investment in power sector which encourages healthy competition will be discouraged.
Source : Leadership