Consumers defence associations and AES Sonel began negotiating the new tariff increase.
Since May 2012 electricity bills have been unusually high for those who consumed at least 110 kilowatts/hour. After freezing electricity tariffs for three years during which consumers enjoyed government support to the tune of FCFA 38 billion, AES Sonel undertook, in agreement with public authorities, to review its tariff scale as from the month of May 2012. The change explains a recent addition by the power utility corporation, AES Sonel, which places the consumers into five categories. According to the new tariff, those who consume 110 KWh and below their charge remains unchanged (50F per unit), from 111KWh-400 will amount to a charged of 79F per unit compared to 70F in 2008, 401KWh-800 will be charged 94F instead 80F a unit as before, 801KWh-2000 will pay 99F instead of the previous 85F a unit while those who consume from 2000KWh and above will be charged 99F still. Shortly after 2008, it increased the unit costs for low voltage tariff by 7 per cent for households and 8 per cent for non-household consumption.
Consumers' defence associations from across the country have decried the increases following a flutter of complain from dissatisfied customers. During June 22 concertation with the management of AES Sonel in Douala, they questioned motivations of the increase, the non-communication and sensitization of consumers on the matter and non-inclusion of the associations when making such an important decision.
Dr. Benz Enow Bate, President Electricity Consumers Consultative Board who led the group of associations to the Relationship Platform with Consumers Associations and AES-Sonel (RPCAA) expressed fears that if a company would pay more bills than it used to, it would automatically affect production cost, and subsequently lead to increase in the price of its products on the market.
Jean David Bile, Corporation's General Manager, explained the reasons for these adjustments. We can no longer continue to defer this tariff increase. Electricity consumption has doubled over the past 10 years and this growth will continue. "Between 2009 and 2011, fuel costs have increased by over 100 per cent while maintenance and replacement needs of our facilities have followed the same trend; during the same period accrued inflation on our costs have stood at about 7 per cent," he added.