Following a recent query issued to NERC by the Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki-led Senate, on Monday, August 17th, 2015, the National Electricity Regulatory Committee, agreed to finally end the practice of bulk billing.
In a resolution presented on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, entitled: “Unfair trade practices of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria,” which was sponsored by Senator Sam Egwu, from Ebonyi, and Senator David Umaru of Niger East Senatorial District, the Senate instructed NERC to “immediately abolish fixed charges on electricity consumption, bulk marketing of villages and communities.”
Additionally, the resolution required NERC to explain the “basis for Discos estimated electricity billing as well as payments made by consumers for meter installation in their homes.”
Initially, in a press conference held a week after the Senate query, NERC, under the leadership of its Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, attempted to defy the directive of the Upper Legislative body. However, in a swift turnaround, the commission released a statement on Monday, 17th August, 2015, stating that customers who do not receive power will henceforth be exempted from paying fixed charges. Additionally, the commission agreed with the Senate’s position on the need to eliminate the practice of bulk billing, and replace this practice with individual metering and billing.
Although it appears the Senate and NERC have reached an understanding on the issue of bulk billing, responding to the segment of the query on fixed charges and estimated billing, Dr. Amadi said that there is “no going back on the charges on electricity consumption fixed by the Commission as that was a global practice” – a compromise that many believe is a show of democracy at work.
Reacting to the development, the Senate President on Friday, August 21st, expressed his delight, stating that he was glad that NERC finally agreed with the position of the Senate.
In a series of Tweets on his personal page, Dr. Saraki further commended NERC for responding to Nigerian’s calls in such a prompt manner, and reassured Nigerians that the “Motion on #power should be a signal to other regulatory bodies that the 8th Senate will not allow anti-people policies to go unchecked.”
The Senate President went on to urge Nigerians to engage with their representatives in the legislature as the 8th Senate will make channels of communication available to Senators- asking Nigerians to contact their Senators for oversight of any agencies and/or organizations.
Many Nigerians took to social media to commend the Senate, with some like @ObongTunji tweeting to the Senate President’s @BukolaSaraki handles saying: “Keep doing the good work sir.”
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