The application instituted by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) for stay of action on the landmark judgment against electricity tariff hike has suffered a serious setback as the court has overruled the application.
In the ruling delivered by the Federal High Court Judge, Justice M.B Idris recently, the judge described the application to stay the judgment of the court as unreasonable, lacking in merit and therefore dismissed.
It may be recalled that the matter instituted on May 2015 through a motion by Barrister Toluwani Adebiyi led to an order of court not to increase tariff until the substantive suit was determined. But the motion was thwarted by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), before the determination of the suit as they both act contemptuous of the court in February 2016 by unilaterally increasing the electricity by 45 per cent.
But the court had delivered a ruling against the electricity tariff hike on 13th July 2016, saying it didn’t pass through the due process. However, while power supply firms appealed the judgement, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it intends to comply but subsequently reneged on its earlier stance.
Mr. Sunday Oduntan, Director of Association of National Electricity Distributors (ANED) which comprises all distribution companies in the country, on behalf of his members had vowed to fight the matter up to the Supreme Court if need be.
Barrister Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, the activist and the plaintiff who had sued the supply firms and the regulator at time had described the ruling as further victory for all Nigerian electricity consumers, saying it is class hypocrisy and share waste of time for NERC and electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) to continue to swim against the tide, in spite of the inadequate power supply and lack of meters, leading to estimated billings which make Nigeria consumers to pay for gross darkness.
“The DISCOs are still sending estimated billings which the NERC Chairman had through public admission unknowingly confessed to be wrongful and unlawful,” Barr. Adebiyi stressed.
Interestingly, on 13th July 2016, the matter was determined in favour of the Nigerian Consumers, meanwhile NERC and DISCOS have filed separate appeals before the Court of Appeal Lagos Division, hearing of which starts on the 9th of January, 2017.