In First Motion, Oyo Central Senator Wants FG To Halt Proposed Electricity Tariff Increase

    Worried by the adverse effect the proposed increase in electricity tariff payable by customers to the 11 successor distribution companies (DisCos), Dr. Yunus Akintunde, who represents Oyo central senatorial district on Tuesday moved a motion against the plan.
    According to the former commissioner, it was important for him and others to move the motion following request by the DisCos who have filed an application for rate review with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
    Among other issues, the lawmaker said that the proposed increase will significantly impact the affordability of electricity for the average Nigerian and further exacerbating the financial burdens faced by households and businesses.
    “The less than one week time frame window provided by NERC for comments from all relevant stake holders is too small for any meaningful engagement. High electricity tariffs will impede industrial growth, job creation, and overall economic development. This will have adverse effects on the nation’s drive towards sustainable development and poverty reduction. It is essential to address the issues of inadequate power supply, metering, and quality of service provided by the DisCos. Customers should not bear the brunt of inefficiencies in the power sector.”

    Joined by
     Sen.Asuquo, Ekpenyong (Cross River South) and Sen. Abbas Aminu Iya (Adamawa Central), Akintunde explained that it was the duty of representatives to advocate for their constituents’ wellbeingprotect their interests, and discourage policies capable of driving majority of Nigeria masses into avoidable poverty.
    It would be recalled that the Oyo-born energy economist was the first Nigerian to bag doctorate degree in energy and environment, and from the University of Ibadan.
    The All Progressives Congress, APC, senator, in the motion, revealed that within the last decade, lawmakers across Nigeria have spent billions of naira to procure and install transformers through various Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs) as a result of request from their various constituencies, adding that “when these transformers are supplied and installed, it becomes registered properties of the DisCos (a privately owned enterprise); while sadly the same DisCos have consistently refused to energize such transformers on the ground that affected communities have to pay millions of naira arrears of bills for electricity never consumed while keeping the affected consumer in perpetual darkness.”
    Akintunde added that “the services of the 11 DisCos are currently bedeviled with total failure, occasioned by prolonged black-out due to lack of provision of relevant infrastructure like transformers, electricity poles, poor distribution network compounded by unjustifiable estimated billings, lack of supply of prepaid meters, rip off etc.”

    ”Despite repeated previous increase in the multiyear tariff with assurances of improved service delivery by the DisCos,” Akintunde continued, “no commensurate improvement has been made by any of 11 DisCos in their respective service deliveries to justify the previous increment.

    He, however, called on the Federal Government to intervene and halt the proposed increase in electricity tariff by the DisCos.

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    ”I also urge NERC to decentralize the proposed engagement with stakeholders scheduled for Abuja to the 6 geopolitical zones of the Federation for effective participation  by all. I also urge NERC to thoroughly look into the rate review applications filed by the DisCos, taking into consideration the interests of the citizens’ affordability, and the need for improved service delivery;

    “NERC should explore alternative measure to address financial challenges faced by the DisCos, such as improving operational efficiency, reducing technical and commercial losses, and enhancing revenue collection mechanisms;
    “DisCos should henceforth discontinue estimated billing and make available prepaid meters at affordable prices to all electricity consumers; and Senate should mandate relevant committees (when constituted) to engage the federal ministry of power, NERC, and other stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the Nigeria electricity sector, including the need for comprehensive sector reforms,” he urged.
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