Reps reject electricity tariffs hike

…citing economic hardship

The House of Representatives has rejected the plan to hike electricity tariff amid cry by consumers over rising cost of living in the country.

The resolution followed a motion by the Deputy Minority Whip, Rep Aliyu Madaki at the plenary in Abuja on Thursday

In his motion, he expressed concern over the suspense created by the planned increase in electricity tariff by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

The lawmaker recalled that DISCOs recently alerted customers of a planned electricity tariff hike, hinging it on the Multi-Year Tariff Oder (MYTO).

He cited a circular issued to that effect by the distribution firms, adding that effective July 1, 2023, there would be an upward review of the electricity tariff influenced by fluctuating rates.

He said, under the MYTO, 2022 guidelines, the previous exchange rate of N 441/$1 might be revised to approximately N750/$1 which would have an impact on the tariffs associated with electricity.

He said under the planned hike, consumers within ‘B’ and ‘C’ with supply hours ranging from 12–16 hours per day would pay N100 per KWh, while Bands ‘A’ with 20 hours and above.

He said consumers within and ‘B’ with 16–20 hours, would experience comparatively higher tariffs, for customers with prepaid metre, whereas, for those on estimated billing, a significant increment was expected.

He said the recent statement by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) directing its consumers to disregard the earlier notice of the increase in the electricity tariffs hike was confusing.

He added that members of the public were confused as to what to believe.

The lawmaker said the proposed increase is coming in spite the inability of the operators to meet the threshold of supplying at least 5,000 megawatts per year.

This, he said, was after signing the contract with NERC, adding that it was insensitive to come up with price increase of such magnitude at this time when many Nigerians were yet to come to terms with the fuel increase.

Contributing to the motion, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos) and Rep. Olumide Oshoba (APC-Ogun) called for caution in view of the pain the Nigerians are going through occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.

Benson noted the increase cost of infrastructure, which companies must strive to cover.

Osoba however said that it was impossible to control prices for a deregulated market.

Rep. Satomi Ahmed (APC-Borno) and Ali Isa JC (PDP-Gombe) insisted that the burden of the subsidy removal on Nigerians was still huge to bear in addition to any tariff hike for electricity.

Ahmed said there had been virtually no investment in infrastructure since the DISCOs took over distribution of power, as communities are still procuring transformers in order to be connected.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Power when constituted to interface with NERC with a view to finding a common ground to addressing the proposed hike in the interest of Nigerians.

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