The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) it was appealing the judgement of a Federal High Court in Lagos declaring the new electricity tariff which came into effect in February this year illegal because it is a major setback on the progress made so far in the power industry.Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, Acting Head of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, said while the commission respects the decision on the court, it will however, appeal the decision.
Recall that Justice Mohammed Idris had on Wednesday ruled that the 45 per cent hike in electricity tariff which took effect on February 1, 2016 was illegal saying it did not follow laid down procedure.
According to Akah, NERC is dissatisfied with the judgement because “it represents the reversal of the commercial foundation upon which contracts for gas, hydro, coal, and solar feedstock for the production of electricity have been predicated”.
He pointed out that the “ultimate destination of a commercialised electricity market is to achieve stability and adequacy in the supply of electricity to satisfy the yearning of Nigerians for adequate, safe and reliable electricity supply”.
Speaking further he said, “This judgement in our view is a setback to the progress made so far in the electricity sector. Therefore, we will challenge this decision. We have instructed our lawyer to appeal. Consequently, the commission has filed for stay of execution and a notice of appeal of the judgement on Wednesday.
We understand that private sector production and distribution is relatively new in Nigeria and that development such as this court ruling must be seen in that context as the laws begin to face judicial tests of interpretations.
We believe that ultimately everybody and all institutions will come to better understanding of the values of the choice we have made as a nation to privatize the power sector”, he added.
On the possible impact of the ruling on the power sector, Akah said: “The electricity sector is a very expensive long term business endeavour and there is what is called regulatory certainty in the regulatory parlance. The multi-year tariff order which the judgement affected provides a long term path of determining in advance, what the tariff will look like and based on that a lot of improvement in the sector were recorded and are in progress”.
The development notwithstanding, the commission urged investors in the sector as well as customers to remain calm, while the agency seeks a solution to the ruling. Leadershipng.