May 30, 2024

Hike in electricity bill: NBA vows to institute legal action against FG

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Ilenre Irele

Plans are in top gear to file legal action against the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) over a hike in electricity bills.

The Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) made this known during a press briefing held at the Ikeja Bar Center, beside Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

In view of this, the Ikeja NBA has given the FGN a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the hiked tariff.

Addressing Judiciary Correspondents, the Ikeja NBA through its Chairman, Seyi Olawunmi noted that the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) order made in respect of the electricity tariff hike is anti-people, adding that the tariff smacks of the policy of a government that has lost touch with the daily realities of its average citizen.

Olawunmi, who argued that, ​“If the government and concerned individuals fail to reverse the illegal hike of electricity tariffs within seven days, the branch will be left with no choice than to seek appropriate remedies in the court of law.”

He recalled that in December 2023, NERC issued a new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2024) which indicated a purported cost-reflective tariff chargeable by the various Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), adding that a large chunk of the increased tariff was however reportedly absorbed by the FGN under a subsidy arrangement.

The Ikeja branch chairman maintained that the purported subsidy has now reportedly been removed by the FGN, leading to an over 300% increase in the electricity tariff payable by the end-user, the Nigerians under a curious band-derivative tariff charging model.

In his words: “We view this sudden astronomical increase in the end-user tariff, irrespective of the technical arguments preferred in justification, as utterly exploitative and non-reflective of the current economic hardship that the masses of Nigerians are going through.”

“The inflation and the depreciation of the Naira to the dollar has affected their services, and it is practically impossible to remain on the old tariff. The electricity in Nigeria is not well priced.

“There should be an immediate stop to the illegal implementation of the N225 per kWh imposed on their so-called band A customers at the discretion of both the Discos and NERC without any empirical basis.

“​The classification into bands A or B or C or D or E should be scrapped. It’s either the Discos are guaranteeing 24 hour supply for all, or they are not.

“The government and the Nigerian people cannot continue to subsidise their inefficiency in the name of band A or B or C etc.

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