Senior lawyer sues NERC, AEDC over alleged unlawful hike in electricity tariff

Mr Joe Agi, SAN, has sued the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Abuja Electricity Distribution (AEDC) Plc at the Federal High Court, Abuja for allegedly increasing his electricity tariff by 230 per cent.

Agi, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/474/ 2024, currently before Justice Inyang Ekwo, sought the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

The senior lawyer prayed the court to hold that the new tariffs and the hours of supply are contrary to the Electricity Act, 2023 and Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution.

The applicant had listed NERC, Minister of Power, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and AEDC as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.

In the affidavit attached to the suit, the lawyer deposed that on March 23 and April 3, he bought 682kwh utility from the AEDC on both dates for N50,000.

He averred that on April 6, he bought another N50,000 utility and this time, the value of the purchase was reduced to 206.7kwh.

He said he was alarmed by the development but later discovered that the NERC and AEDC had created what they called bands in the country, wherein NERC issued what it called the April 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2024.

“That from the tariffs shared, the 1st and 4th respondents (NERC and AEDC) increased my tariffs by 230%, whereas others had theirs increased by 236%,177% and some others 0% in Nigeria.

“The tariffs are discriminatory and the hours of supply are discriminatory between consumers and consumer categories and should be cancelled,” he prayed.

Agi faulted the announcement made by NERC’s chairman, Musiliu Oseni, on April 1, wherein he said “only 15% of the electricity consumers in the country who consume 40% of the nation’s electricity are the ones affected.”

According to him, the directive is discriminatory between 15% and 85% of the other consumers in Nigeria.

He argued that the alleged fixing of tariffs using the US Dollars in Nigeria is uncalled for and against public policy.

The applicant, therefore, sought “a declaration that the NERC Supplementary Order to the MYTO 2024 is discriminatory, unconstitutional and a gross violation of the applicant’s right to freedom from discrimination as guaranteed under Section 116 (2) (e) of the Electricity Act, 2023 and Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).”

He said it also contravened the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1LEN 2004.

He equally asked the court to declare that “the predication of the costing of tariffs in Nigeria using United States of American dollar exchange rate is unlawful, unconstitutional and contrary to public policy.”

Agi then sought an order setting aside the NERC Supplementary Order to the MYTO 2024 for being discriminatory and gross violation of his right to freedom from discrimination as guaranteed under the law.

No date has been fixed for hearing as of the time of this report.

It is reported that NERC on April 3, raised electricity tariff for customers enjoying 20 hours power supply daily, classified as Band A category from N66/kWh to N225kWh.(NAN)

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