Hardship: Senate rejects planned electricity tariff hike

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By James Moses (9News Nigeria)

The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to stop the planned withdrawal of electricity subsidy.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, had last week said the government could no longer pay electricity subsidies as the country’s power debt continue to rise.

Adelabu said Nigerian government is currently indebted to the tune of N1.3 trillion to generating companies (GenCos) whole debt to gas companies stand at $1.3 billion.

He stated that only N450bn was embarked for electricity subsidies in 2024 budget, even though findings by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that 2.9tn is required for subsidy this year.

However, the Senate following, a motion by Senator Aminu Abbas (PDP, Adamawa Central) and 10 others urged the Federal Government to stand down the idea of an increase in electricity tariff by withdrawing subsidy.

It also mandated the committee on Power to investigate the over N2 trillion subsidy requirements as slated by Minister of Power to avoid repeat of fuel subsidy scenerio.

The probe, it said, should also include the Power minister’s claim that the Federal Government. was owing generating companies (GenCos) N1.3 trillion and $1.3 billion to gas firms.

.Senator Abbas in his motion, said the plan to increase electricity tariff was in gross disregard of the increased economic challenges with Attendant widespread poverty and high cost of living.

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He said communities buy transformers to replace damaged ones in addition to overburden bills and arbitrary estimates for unmetered customers.

‘The issue of arbitrary energy charges on unmerited customers has become worrisome given the February 2024 report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on the non-compliance with energy billing caps by DISCOS and the penalty of N10.5billion imposed on the distribution companies that over-billed its unmerited customers

“This is taking place in our country where greater number of the population is living below the poverty level, with stagnant wages, rising inflation and depreciating currency, the prospect of higher electricity bill is unattainable” the lawmaker said.

The Senate, therefore, asked the government not to phase out electricity subsidies.

-9News Nigeria.

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About James Moses 1966 Articles
James Moses is a 9News Nigeria news correspondent reporting from Jos, Plateau State. He is an experienced writer, journalist and blogger. He is passionate and flair for Politics, Sports and Entertainment reporting. Contact James Moses via his email address: jjmoses00@gmail.com