The proposed electricity tariff increase by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been temporarily halted by the House of Representatives.
In ordering for the suspension of the tariff increase, the House said it has become imperative to stop the proposed increase to consult ensure a wider consultation of all critical stakeholders by the NERC before the tariff increase can come into effect.
This directive was issued on Tuesday by the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Rep. Magaji Aliyu, during an interface with the minister of power and all the power regulating agencies including the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) and other relevant stakeholders over the proposed increase.
He explained that the House would not sit and watch these agencies fix different electricity charges for states domiciled in Nigeria.
The House committee which cut short its yuletide holiday blamed the agencies for not taking necessary steps before announcing an increment on tariffs that were expected to take effect from January 1.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of NERC represented by a General Manager, Sharfudeen Mahmoud, had told the House that the tariff increase was calculated based on prevailing economic realities.
Mahmoud explained that what the agency is doing is to determine the category of customers that will pay the new price of electricity based on certain indices such as exchange rate and generation capacity of distribution companies.
He also hinted that current electricity price is N55 per kilowatt and the review is backed by law particularly, the Power Sector Reform Act 2005, adding that the price review is done twice a year by the agency to reflect changes in the economic fabrics of the nation.
The House committee, however, argued that the said review as stated by NERC is not constitutional, declaring that the planned increment is untimely and should be halted as relevant stakeholders including the Senate and House Committees on Power were not properly consulted before the tariff hike was announced.