A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed July 23, 2015 for ruling in a suit filed by a lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi challenging the proposed hike in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The proposed hike earlier scheduled to take off on June 1, 2015, was put on hold owing to an ex-parte order issued by Justice Mohammed Idris at the inception of the suit.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, NERC had argued an application asking the court to vacate the interim order, and another application challenging the competence of the suit.
In his counter affidavit to the motion seeking to set aside the interim injunction, the plaintiff (Adebiyi) had argued that the motion ex-parte was properly heard and granted by the court because of its urgency.
According to him: “The matter was filed on May 25, heard and granted on May 28, which was the last working day before the June 1 take-off date of the proposed electricity tariff hike.”
The plaintiff added that the restraining order should be sustained by the court in order to prevent the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) from effecting any price hike, adding that what the respondent was asking for was purely an encroachment on the substantive suit.
In his response to NERC’s preliminary objection to the suit, the plaintiff contended that he indeed has the ‘locus standi’ to file the action because as a consumer, he pays his electricity bills promptly.
He disclosed further that before filing the suit, all local remedies for resolving the issues have been over-exhausted.
Adebiyi, in the suit, is seeking an order restraining NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful and significant improvement in power supply at least for 18 hours in a day in most communities in Nigeria.
He also wants an order restraining NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “the meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used.”