Nigerians Rejoice, Distributors Appeal Reversal of Hike in Electricity Tariffs

Nigerians have been rejoicing over the ruling, Wednesday, of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, which annulled the hike in electricity tariffs announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in 2015.

But the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the umbrella body of 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) operating in the country, on Thursday said that it has appealed against the judgment annulling the 45 per cent electricity tariff hike and abolishing the fixed charges for all electricity consumers.

Mr Sunday Oduntan, the executive director of ANED, said it would pursue the judgment to the Supreme Court. He said ANED appealed against the ruling and asked for a stay of execution now.

In his judgement, presiding judge Mohammed Idris described the increase as procedurally ultra vires, irrational, irregular and illegal.

A human rights lawyer, Mr. Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, had filed a suit to challenge the hike in electricity tariffs as announced by NERC last year, arguing that it is pointless to increase prices when there was no commensurate increase in power supply.

Justice Idris ordered NERC to, with immediate effect, revert to the initial tariff.

He also restrained the commission from taking further steps in increasing electricity tariffs except it complies strictly with the relevant provisions of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA).

The court said: “It is clear from the affidavit evidence that the increase in tariffs was done by NERC in defiance of the order of this court made on May 28, 2015, which directed parties in the case to maintain the status quo.”

The electricity distributors are not likely to obey the order to “revert to the original tariff” or pay back what has been taken from consumers since last year. Only a few consumers have pre-paid meters anyway.

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