The association of Electricity distribution companies (Discos) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), have said that it is not possible for them to reverse the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariffs as directed by a federal high court in Lagos.

A federal high court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos had last week reversed the 45 per cent increase. The court held that the hike in tariff was illegal and directed that it should be reversed with immediate effect.

The court awarded a N50, 000 fine against the NERC over the implementation of the increase, saying that it constituted a violation of its earlier interim order restraining them from carrying out the new tariff plan.

The Minister of power, Babatunde Fashola described the hike as a “cost effective” measure to enable the operating firms remain in business, in view of the current increases in the cost of generation and distribution of electricity.

The investors stressed that any reduction in the electricity rates by 45 per cent would lead to a total collapse of the sector, which would further plunge the country into almost total blackout. “ The system will collapse on everybody’s head and, of course, it will affect everyone. What we are talking about here is how the sector can survive; how we can bring in liquidity into the sector and make sure that the product is appropriately priced.”

The discos said the issue of power theft across the country has made it impossible for them to operate on a lower cost of billing”, Executive Director, Association of National Electricity Distributors, Mr. Sunday Oduntan said in an interview.

The distribution companies and NERC filed separate appeals against the ruling last Friday.

Ogie Omelegie
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