The Senate Commences an Investigative Hearing Regarding the Increase in Electricity Rates.

The Senate has initiated an inquiry into the rise in electricity tariffs across 11 states in Nigeria.

During the current session at the Senate wing of the National Assembly on Monday, the chamber declared its intention to penalize any individual or entity found responsible for exacerbating the challenges faced by Nigerians.

Last week, the Senate’s Power Committee summoned the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, and leaders of agencies under the ministry to participate in an investigative hearing regarding the recent electricity tariff adjustments.

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.”

He said, “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.”

The committee chairman, speaking on Monday at the investigative hearing, stated that the investigation hinged on two motions presented at plenary on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, and Wednesday, February 21, 2024, in which the Senate ordered the Committee on Power to “engage with the Federal Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and other stakeholders” via resolutions.

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.”

He added, “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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