Defaulting firms in the provision of electricity services are to pay a fine of N500,000 each. This is contained in the new Utility Charges Act which was passed by the two Houses in the National Assembly yesterday.
Accordingly, any service provider who unilaterally increased service charges without seeking permission from the Utility Service Commission would be made to pay a fine of N500,000 upon conviction.
This is contrary to the fine of N10,000 provided in the Utility Charges Commission Act, 2004
The Bill was among the 12 Bills referred to the Senate from the House of Representatives which got the Senate’s concurrence yesterday.
Section seven of the Act reads: “As from the commencement of this Act, a scheduled Utility intending to vary or increase its charges, tariff or rates shall first seek the commission’s approval for such permissible increase.
A person who contravenes the provisions of sub section one of this section commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000”
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume explained that the amendment was in line with current realities.
Provisions amended in the previous law include Sections 7 (2), 11 (5), 13 (2).
In the amendment, the legislative body reviewed the fines from N10,000 to N500,000.
Similarly, the Senate has referred the screening of nominees to the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to its Committee on Communications.
By MBACHU GODWIN NNANNA and BODE GBADEBO, Abuja