Lawyer, NERC Square Up Over New Electricity Tariff

The Dr. Sam Amadi-led management of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is alleged to have breached a subsisting court order which compelled the former to discountenance electricity tariff in the interim pending the adjudication of the case before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Toluwani Adebiyi, a lawyer particularly faulted the new electricity tariff declared by NERC, saying it is contemptuous of court.

Adebiyi who had taken the NERC to court got an order by the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop commission from further increasing its tariff, said the injunction granted by Justice Ibrahim Idris against any increment was subsisting and had not been discharged.

Adebiyi, who filed the suit, in a letter to Minister of Power Babatunde Fashola (SAN), said it was unfortunate that an order of court would be violated under a democratic dispensation.

Justice Idris had made the order on May 28 restraining NERC from increasing tariff in June. The judge later restated the order, saying it subsists until the substantive matter is decided.

“It becomes very sad, frightening and legally embarrassing when such flagrant disregard happens not in a military era, but in a democratic dispensation,” Adebiyi said.

He said it was even more unfortunate because NERC chairman Dr Sam Amadi; Fashola and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) are lawyers and should know better than to approve a tariff when an order was subsisting.

The lawyer said he would initiate contempt proceedings should the new tariff be implemented in spite of the order.

Adebiyi who scorned NERC’s argument that fixed charge is universal and as such, should be to service permanent investments like cables, poles, transformers, etc, said, such can only work if the electricity consuming public enjoy 24hrs light as supplied by those countries, the initiators of the fixed charge. “Till date, communities are still providing poles, cables and transformers for their own use. Thank God the fraudulent fixed charge is now abolished,” he said.

The lawyer also argued that the non-availability of meters is intentional, as it allows the DISCOS to get anything they want through the outrageous estimated billings, despite the N2.9b metering subsidy made available for this purpose by the federal government.

The NERC had in a statement last week announced that it will jack up energy tarrif, while assuring that electricity consumers will only pay for what they consume from month to month.

Speaking on the new tariff, the NERC boss said: “The objective of the new tariff is to enable prudent consumers to save money on electricity bill as they can now control their consumption and not pay monthly fixed charges.”

Specifically, he said: “For instance, residential customer classification (R2) in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company will no longer pay N702.00 fixed charge every month. Their energy charge will increase by N9.60. Also, residential customers (R2 customers) in Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution areas will no longer pay N750. 00 fixed charges. They will be getting N10 and N8 increase respectively in their energy charges. Similarly, the burden of N800.00 and N750.00 fixed charges would be lifted off the shoulders of Kaduna and Benin electricity consumers. These consumers will see an increase of N11.05 and N9.26 respectively in their energy charges.”

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