NASS moves against electricity tariff hike, estimated billing

The Senate has asked the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene and halt the proposed increase in electricity tariff by the 11 Distribution Companies (Discos) in the country.

It also stressed the need to allow ordinary Nigerians to breathe, insisting that anything that would bring untold hardship to the citizens would be rejected in all its ramifications.

The Upper chamber equally asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to decentralise the proposed engagement with stakeholders scheduled for Abuja to the six geopolitical zones of the Federation for effective participation by all.

The resolutions came on a day the House of Representatives asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to compel Discos to discontinue the extortive practice of estimated/arbitrary billing with immediate effect.

The Senate’s resolutions were sequel to a motion, titled “Need to Halt the Proposed Increase in Electricity Tariff by Eleven Successor Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos),” sponsored by Senator Yunus Abiodun Akintunde, APC,Oyo Central, and co-sponsored by Senators Ekpenyong Asuquo, APC, Cross River South and Aminu Iya Abbas, PDP, Adamawa Central.

It also urged the NERC to thoroughly look into the rate review applications filed by the Discos, taking into consideration the interests of citizens, affordability and the need for improved service delivery;

The Upper chamber further asked NERC to explore alternative measures to address the financial challenges faced by Discos, such as improving operational efficiency, reducing technical and commercial losses, and enhancing revenue collection mechanisms.

It asked the Discos to, henceforth, discontinue estimated billing and make available to all electricity consumers prepaid meters at affordable prices.

The Senate, thereafter, mandated the Committee on Power (when constituted) to engage with the Federal Ministry of Power, NERC, and other stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the Nigerian electricity sector, including the need for comprehensive sector reforms.

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