Electricity Commission Fails In Bid To increase Tariffs

By Abiose Adelaja Adams

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, on Thursday filed an application before a Federal High Court in Lagos to discharge the ex-parte order restraining it from implementing an increment in electricity tariff.

The increment was billed to have commenced June 1 but a Lagos-based lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi, had filed an application restraining the commission from implementing the new tariff.

The petitioner, in the suit, is seeking an order restraining the 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.

He also wants an order restraining the NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “the meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used.”

The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, had restrained NERC and the electricity distribution companies from effecting any increment in electricity tariff pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

At the resumption of the hearing on Thursday, NERC filed the application through its counsel, Tonbofa Ashimi, for the discharge the ex-parte order, including a preliminary objection challenging the substantive suit.

“My lord, I am the counsel representing NERC and we have filed an application seeking to discharge the exparte order given by the court. We also filed a preliminary objection challenging the substantive suit,” Ashimi told the court.

The plaintiff told the court that he needed time to respond to the said application on points of law.

As a result, Justice Idris adjourned to July 21, for hearing of all pending applications.



    Consequently, Adebiyi urged the court to renew the order so as to preserve the subject matter of the suit.

    “My Lord, everybody is affected. Even this court is running on generator. There is a need to stop NERC from increasing the electricity tariff because Nigerians can’t afford such and there is no justification for such increment,” Adebiyi had said.

    As part of his demands in the suit, he wants the service charge on pre-paid meters not to be enforced until there is visible efficient and reliable power supply like those of foreign countries where the idea of service charge was borrowed.

    Adebiyi is further asking for an order of court mandating the NERC to generate more power to meet the electricity use of Nigerians.

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