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Reps reject proposed plan to increase electricity tariff

House of Representatives has rejected the plans by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to increase their energy tariffs.

Benjamin Kalu, deputy speaker, House of Representatives
Benjamin Kalu, deputy speaker, House of Representatives

House of Representatives has rejected the plans by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to increase their energy tariffs.

The House asked the National Electricity Regulatory Commission not to approve the increase.

The resolution was passed during a plenary session on Thursday, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by a member from Kano state, Sani Madaki, of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

In the past weeks, reports had spread that electricity tariffs would be increased by 40 percent due to spiralling petrol prices.

The increase was said to be contingent on the 2022 multi-year tariff order (MYTO), which is due for a bi-annual review this month.

Debating the motion, Madaki said there is “widespread apprehension” in the country over the planned introduction of a new electricity tariff regime by DisCos.

He also cited the current economic situation, saying President Tinubu’s government came to power “to bring succour to the people”.

According to him, the proposed hike in electricity tariff would increase the suffering of Nigerians.

When it was his time to contribute to the debate, Babajimi Benson from Lagos, said there was a “corresponding need” for NERC to bring the GenCos and DisCos for discussions because there are several factors that have necessitated plans for the hike in electricity tariffs.

Benson said: “FX has gone up, NERC and DisCos should be brought on board instead of (telling them) don’t increase the price”..

Another member form Osun, Bamidele Salami supported Benson’s position, saying while there is a need to cushion the effect of the current hardship on Nigerians, the house should avoid making regulations that may make operations difficult for businesses.

He said the electricity act makes the sector to be private sector-driven, and the prevailing market drive is the cause of the proposed increase.

“We have to find a way to ensure the sector is not suffocated by regulation so that we don’t kill the industry and investment,” he said.

Salami also said rather than asking for the suspension of the proposed tariff increase, the government should focus on issues such as increasing the minimum wage and others.

“A privatised sector cannot be deeply regulated,” he said.

Ali Isa from Gombe state also supported the motion, saying citizens are already suffering from the effect of the petrol subsidy removal.

The deputy speaker who presided over the plenary put the motion for a voice voting and it was voted and passed.

Recall that TechnocratMedia reported that NERC had called on consumers to participate in the review of electricity tariffs following applications by eleven DisCos.

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