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ELECTRICITY TARIFF: Dogara says frequent hike is injustice despite N123bn bailout

ELECTRICITY TARIFF: Dogara says frequent hike is injustice despite N123bn bailout

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has decried the frequent increase in electricity tariff without significant improvement in power supply in the country.

Dogara said the act was injustice to power consumers despite the N123 billion bailout fund the Federal Government gave the power sector.

The Speaker made the disclosure while speaking at a public hearing organised by an ad-hoc committee of the House to interface with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other stakeholders on Monday in Abuja,

According to Dogara, the hearing was to critically examine and re-assess all inputs and assumptions in the Multi-Year Tariff-Order system in Nigeria’s electricity industry.

The Speaker, who described the incessant increase in the unit price of electricity as unpleasant, said paying for power charges not supplied has become a huge burden to consumers. He called on relevant stakeholders, particularly the NERC to address the ugly trend.

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“There has been a prolonged public outcry over the continuous increase in the unit price of electricity, which many believe is not in tandem with the current realities in electricity supply.

“The tariff has continued to increase from an average of N10 per kw/h in 2007 to an average of N24.20 kw/h in 2017 without substantial improvement in power supply.

“Despite, the N123 billion Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Fund provided by the Federal Government as subsidy to the sector operators, the situation remains unpleasant. The House is concerned about the seeming injustice to the Nigerian public and wishes to examine the possibility of redressing the trend.

“It is needless to say that adequate electricity supply in our country will stimulate economic activities and reduce unemployment, which will invariably ameliorate youth restiveness and the high crime rate.

“As stakeholders, we must all join hands to find a lasting solution the challenge of unstable electricity supply in the country, and in particular, the issue of excessive electricity tariff that seems to be incongruous with the quality and quantity of electricity supplied,” he said.

He urged the committee and stakeholders come up with a realistic tariff regime that will resolve the problem.

Last month, the House Committee on Power had opened a public hearing to deliberate on the bill which aims to amend the Power Sector Reform Act to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) and provide for compulsory installation of pre-paid meters for all power consumers in Nigeria.

The bill which had scaled through the second reading was sponsored by Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila.

However, the NERC and all the DisCos under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) moved against the bill, saying it would negatively impact on the electricity situation in the country.

 

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