Reps panel asks NERC to suspend electricity tariff increase

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The house of representatives committee on power has asked the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the planned increase in electricity tariff.

NERC had directed the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to enforce an upward review of the tariff starting from April 1.

But at its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, Aliyu Magaji, the committee chairman, asked NERC to issue a directive suspending the upward review pending proper consultations on the matter.

Magaji also directed Ahmed Abdul, acting permanent secretary, ministry of power, to send a correspondence to relevant agencies regarding the directive.

“There are so many unresolved questions. We have to do it logically to ensure that at least… all of us know the feedback from Nigerians,” he said.

“On behalf of this committee, I will liaise with the senate committee; put this on hold until proper consultations are achieved. The committee is directing you to halt this process until the honourable speaker finishes his consultation.”

The committee chairman added that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET) remains under the ministry of power contrary to a presidential directive which moved it to the ministry of finance.

NBET, which was created through the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, has been operating under the ministry of power until recently when President Muhammadu Buhari moved it to the finance ministry.

Addressing the committee, Abdul said the ministry of power was informed of the presidential directive, and that NBET is now being supervised by the finance ministry.

Magaji, however, opposed the move which he said is illegal.

“We are talking of the law; I’m sure somebody must have misled somebody somewhere. This law (putting NBET under ministry of power) is yet to be repealed or reviewed,” he said.

“So, NBET still remains in the ministry of power as far as this parliament is concerned, unless we change the law.”

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