Government denies arbitrariness in new electricity tariff

Rafat Salami, Abuja

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC says the new electricity tariff order which became operational on February 1, was carried out after wide consultation with different shades of opinion, and in strict compliance with extant rules and judicial pronouncements.

NERC made the clarification in a statement, following nationwide protests organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress  NLC on Monday, to protest the new tariff which increased cost of electricity consumption by nearly 45%.

The NLC had alleged that the NERC did not consult with all stakeholders before it arbitrarily increased the tariff, an allegation NERC is denying but said it is committed to ensuring customer satisfaction.

‘’The Commission hereby states that it is committed to act in the best Interest of electricity customers and all stakeholders in the development of the electricity industry’’, the statement read in part.

The statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs Department of NERC Dr. Usman Abba Arabi also said the agency has taken note of the nationwide protests and was still open to negotiation.

 ‘’The tariff regulation process entails wide consultation with stakeholders. In addition the   Electric   Power   Sector   Reform   (EPSR)   Act   2005   empowers   any   party   aggrieved   or dissatisfied by the decision of the Commission to appeal to it within 60 days from the date of the decision. Therefore, the Commission is still open to further consultation. ‘’

Dr Abbas also called for restraint from all stakeholders saying the case was already before a court of law.

On the issue of the Court Injunction, we wish to state that the Commission is a law abiding government   body   with   respect   and regard   for   the   judiciary   and   the   rule   of law.

The Commission will not contravene any court order. However, we wish to state that we must all exercise restraint to allow the court to do its duty of determining the matter before it.

Thousands of unionists participated in the nationwide protest to compel government to revert the hike in electricity tariff.