Reps investigate electricity tariff increase

By The Citizen

The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Power to investigate the actual cost of service charge that electricity consumers are expected to pay monthly so as to determine if consumers were being over-charged by the distribution companies (DISCOs).

But the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has denied given any DISCO the approval to increase electricity tariffs or charges.

A motion on the 'Need to investigate the recent increase in service charge by the DISCOs,' was sponsored by Hon. Hassan Saleh (PDPBenue).

Saleh observed that the service charges had already been reviewed upward by the Federal Government through NERC prior to the transfer of the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the core investors.

He particularly expressed concern that the reviewed service charges had been doubled by the DISCOs in recent times even as customers are yet to get value for their money.

The lawmaker said: 'The upward review of the service charge to N750.00 as part of the tariff that consumers are expected to pay is to encourage the new companies that were bidding for these distribution companies, particularly to enable break even.

'Following complaints against the upward review of the amount being paid as service charge, NERC appealed to Nigerians for understanding given that the review was to encourage and create an enabling business environment for the new companies that would be taking over the functions of distribution of power.

'Recently, these power distribution companies unilaterally further reviewed the service charge to the sum of N1,500 and are still canvassing for further upward review, even though their services are at its lowest point presently as there are no substantial improvement in power supply, as customers are getting little value for their money.'

However, NERC chairman, Sam Amadi, explained that the DISCOs do not have a uniform tariff.

Amadi said: 'We want to make it clear that NERC has not sanctioned any illegal increase by any DISCO. However, customers who feel that they are victims of such purported increases should come forward with evidence'. - National Mirror.