‎NERC ends contentious ‘fixed charges’ for electricity consumers

*Electricity meters.

*Electricity meters.

*Approves ‘small increases’ in energy charges

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

22 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said on Monday that, henceforth, all classes of electricity consumers in Nigeria would no longer pay money as fixed charge in the monthly electricity bills issued to them by the 11 electricity distribution companies, Discos.

NERC noted in a statement obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, that under the new tariff regime, electricity consumers will now only pay for what they consume from month to month.

It said that the new electricity tariff regime which was approved over the weekend has effectively removed the contentious fixed charges for all classes of electricity consumers in the country.

It explained that from now on, the Discos will from their next billing period, not charge their customers monthly fixed charges as they did before the new tariff.

The power regulator, however, approved small increases in energy charges to the different classes of consumers by the Discos.

Outgoing NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi stated in this regards that the commission acted in good faith to both consumers and operators in line with its mandate to enthrone regulatory transparency in the country’s electricity market.

Amadi said, “This is good news for electricity consumers who have long asked for a more just and fair pricing of electricity.

“The regulatory commission had promised to address all the complaints against fixed charges through a regulatory process that promotes investments in the electricity industry without unfairly burdening electricity consumers. This is in line with NERC’s mandate to be fair in all its regulatory interventions.”

He further stated that: “Although, the new tariff regimes comes with an increase in energy charges, all electricity consumers, residential as well as commercial will no longer pay fixed charges, so their total bills will depend on the electricity they actually consume and may be reduced when they conserve electricity.”

“Consumers will no longer be spending money every month to pay for fixed charges even when they do not receive electricity in their homes and businesses. The objective of the new tariff is to enable prudent consumers to save money on electricity bill as they can now control their consumption and not pay monthly fixed charges,” Amadi added.

Payment of fixed charge had been a contentious issue between consumers on one side and Discos and NERC on the other.

The charge is that component of the tariff that commits electricity consumers to paying an approved amount of money mostly on a monthly basis not minding whether electricity is consumed during the billing period.

In its breakdown of the new tariff structure, NERC noted that for instance, residential customer which are classified as R2 under the Abuja Disco, will no longer pay N702 as fixed charge every month but their energy charge will increase by N9.60.

Also, residential customers under the same categorisation in Eko and Ikeja Discos will no longer pay N750 fixed charges but will be getting N10 and N8 increases respectively in their energy charges.

Similarly, the burden of N800 and N750 fixed charges would be taken away from R2 customers in Kaduna and Benin Discos respectively, they will however see an increase of N11.05 and N9.26 respectively in their energy charges.

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