Federal High Court Bar NERC From Increasing Electricity Tariff

A Federal High Court in Lagos has barred the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission from giving effect to its proposed increment in electricity tariff.
Justice Mohammed Idris made the order on Thursday after a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Toluwani Adebiyi, had moved an ex parte application to that effect.
The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, had at a recent press conference in Abuja, disclosed the plan by the commission to implement an upward review of electricity tariff payable by Nigerians.
The proposed increment, Amadi said was billed to commence from June 1, 2015.
But Adebiyi, who claimed that the proposed increment would “foist further hardship on Nigerians,” had appeared in court on Thursday with a motion ex parte praying the court to stop it.
Amadi, while canvassing argument before the court, contended that any increment in tariff was unjustifiable in the face of poor or erratic supply of electricity by the distributing companies.
According to the lawyer, if the proposed increment was allowed, most electricity companies would retain the N750 fixed charge.
Justice Idris, after hearing the application, ordered that the status quo be maintained pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The judge ordered the plaintiff to serve the motion on notice and other processes in the suit on the NERC.
Justice Idris also granted leave to the applicant to serve the originating summons, the affidavit in support, list of exhibits and the written address on the defendant in Abuja.
The judge adjourned further hearing till June 11, 2015.
In the main suit, the plaintiff is seeking an order restraining the NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful and significant improvement in power supply to at least 18 hours in a day in most Nigerian communities.
He also wants an order restraining the NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “the meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used.”
He also wants the service charge on pre-paid meters not to be enforced until there was visible efficient and reliable power supply like those of foreign countries from where the idea of service charge was borrowed.
Adebiyi is further asking for an order of court mandating the NERC to do the needful to generate more power to meet the electricity need of Nigerians.
According to him, the needful included but not limited to a multiple long-term financial approach, sourced from the banks, capital market, insurance and other sectors to power the sector.
The lawyer is asking the court to mandate the NERC to make available to all Nigerians prepaid meters within a maximum time frame of two years.
This, he said, would curb “the throat-cutting, indiscriminate estimated bill, which must be devoid of the arbitrary service charge, but only chargeable on power consumed.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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