From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
The recent Federal High Court ruling against the implementation of the new electricity tariff is a major setback on the progress made in the electricity sector, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), acting chairman of Dr. Anthony Akah, has said.
Dr. Akah who, briefed newsmen in Abuja on Friday, disclosed that the Commission will appeal the judgement.
Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on Wednesday, ruled that the 45 percent hike in electricity tariff which took effect on February 1, 2016 was illegal as it did not follow laid down procedure and should not be implemented.
But the NERC boss said the Commission was 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”.
According to him, 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”.
Akah continued: “This judgement in our view is a setback to the progress made so far in the electricity sector.
He stated that the impact of the ruling on the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) would be in maximum quantum.
“The electricity sector is very expensive long term business endeavour and there is what is called regulatory certainty in 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.
“Therefore, we will challenge this decision. We have instructed our lawyers to appeal. “Consequently, the commission has filed for stay of execution and a notice of appeal of the judgement.
“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 privatise the power sector”, he added.
The commission therefore urged the investors and customers to remain calm, as a solution to the ruling is being sought.