…As BEDC says ‘New tariff affects only 30% of our customers’***
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Friday insisted that electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) must not increase tariffs of customers enjoying less than 12 hours of power supply daily.
Mr Dafe Akpeneye, NERC Commissioner, Legal Licensing and Compliance, made the clarification during the regulatory agency’s online town hall meeting with customers on the new electricity tariff regime.
The newsmen report that the DisCos had on Sept. 1 announced the implementation of new Service Reflective Tariff Plan (SRT) across their franchise areas.
The DisCos said the classes of customers had been categorised into five bands with bands D and E who were not enjoying 12 hours daily power supply not affected by the new tariff plan.
However, Akpeneye, who was responding to claims by some customers that the DisCos were not adhering to the increment terms, maintained that those below 12 hours supply daily should not experience any increment.
He explained that the hours and bands were decided by the commission after consultations but customers were assigned to the bands by the DisCos.
Akpeneye said:” Anyone who is enjoying less than 12 hours of electricity must not have their tariffs increased.
“Customers who receive electricity service below the band they have been assigned can have the DisCos move them to the actual band of electricity service they receive.
“Unhappy? Contest the band classification you have been assigned.”
He said in order to protect unmetered customers from exploitation by the DisCos, NERC came up with “Parity with Neighbours”.
“This is the principle we are applying with unmetered customers. It basically means as an unmetered customer, you cannot be charged more than your metered neighbour,”the commissioner said.
Akpeneye also disclosed that NERC had mandated all DisCos to invest in infrastructure in order to increase power supply to customers.
In the meantime, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) on Friday said the New Service-Based Tariff (SBT) would only affect 30 per cent of customers in its franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo.
Mr Abu Ejoor, the Executive Director, Commercial, made clarification in Benin, at a news conference on the new tariff for customers within BEDC franchise areas
Ejoor said that customers enjoying an average of 12 hours power supply daily would be affected by the new tariff regime.
He said that customers with less than 12 hours of power supply would continue to pay old rates until the end of 2020.
Ejoor said the new tariff would allow customers to enjoy certain minimum of hours of power and pay appropriate rates for services rendered.
“The new SBT is a leap into a regime where customers of BEDC across its franchise states will migrate to a threshold where there will be continuous improvement in service delivery.
“The tariff regime is in line with the outcome of customers’ feedback from tariff review consultations held by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Discos in February and March.
“Under the new regime, customers have been disaggregated into various cluster and bands based on hours of supply and using number of hours of daily availability as a measure to determine the tariff rates.
“Customers in Band A include those with minimum of 20 hours supply, Band B, minimum of 16 hours, Band C, minimum of 12 hours, Band D, minimum of eight hours and Band E, minimum of four hours of power supply.
“The regime also provides that customers can move to upper bands of more power availability as their quality of service improves and accordingly pay the appropriate rates,’’ he said
According to Ejoor, as part of customers care initiatives, the Disco will recruit up to 100 telemarketers and customer service agents to call and market customers on the various bands under the SBT regime
He explained that BEDC received nine per cent of power from the national grid, which he said was around 360MW as against the total requirement of 1,400MW.
“BEDC was forced to do massive load shedding to manage the very small power available to all its customers,’’ Ejoor said.
He said BEDC was collaborating with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to ensure that areas with less than 12 hours power supply witness rapid improvement.