Senate Probes Electricity Tariff Hike

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By Isah Aliyu Chiroma

The Senate has commenced investigation into the increase in the electricity tariff paid by Nigerians across 11 states.

At the ongoing meeting on Monday, lawmakers declared that the Senate would punish anyone or agency it found culpable of inflicting pain on ordinary citizens of the country.

The Senate had, through its committee on power had invited the minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, and the heads of agencies under the ministry to an investigative hearing on the new electricity tariffs.

The committee chairman, Senator Eyinnaya Ababribe, had said that the Senate has already authorised an investigative hearing “scheduled for the 29th of April, 2024. The major agencies of government will answer questions.”

“We have summoned the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). We will allow them to speak about the electricity tariff hike. The minister of power is, of course, expected to appear too,” Abaribe said.

He stated the investigative hearing was hinged on two motions presented at plenary on Tuesday, 25 July 2023 and Wednesday, 21st February 2024 where the Senate by its resolutions mandated the Committee on Power to “engage with the Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and other stakeholders.”

Abaribe also stated that the mandate of the committee was to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the Nigerian Electricity Sector, including the need for “comprehensive sector reforms.”

“We are also to investigate the over N2tn subsidy requirement as stated by the Minister of Power to avoid the repeat of fuel subsidy scenario and the statement made by the Honourable Minister with regard to the N1.3tn the Ministry is owing generating companies and 1.3 billion dollars owed to gas companies, (which I believe has increased as at today).

“Investigate the role of the Ministry of Power, NERC, and ZIGLAKS COMPANY on their failed agreement to provide meters and ensure Nigerians are not shortchanged”

The committee at the hearing also sought that electricity stakeholders provide answers on when “NERC migrated from the previous customer classes of Residential (RI, R2, R3), commercial (C1 and C2) and Demand (D1 and D2) to the present BANDS (A, B, C) for electricity customers?”

He added: “Let me right from the onset and restate the determination a commitment of the Committee and indeed that of the 10th Senate to as a matter of urgency, stringently carry out this assignment to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians and that we will not hesitate to sanction anybody or any agency found culpable.”

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