27 November 2012

Nigeria: NERC to Reduce Electricity Tariff for SMEs

The new electricity tariff dubbed Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) II may soon be reviewed downward for the operators of small businesses due to numerous complaints, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said.

The new tariffs were introduced on June 1, 2012 which according to the federal government was to reflect the current reality in the industry and attract investors. The new tariffs have been criticized as too high by electricity consumers, especially Small and Medium Enterprises. They are worried about the fixed fee they are now made to pay monthly irrespective of the electricity supply situation.

For Commercial Customer Category II, the average fixed charge is about N17, 000 whether there is light of not, while for Commercial Customer Category III it is N106, 000, whether they consume electricity or not.

Executive Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs of NERC, Dr. Abba Ibrahim, confirmed this to newsmen on the sideline of the Power Consumer Assembly convened in Dutse, Jigawa State by NERC.

Abba said having received the complaints, the Commission had set in motion a process to resolve the complaints of the SMEs, adding that the new tariff regime provided for review mechanism in case of such complaints.

He said: "There have been quite a number of complaints that have been raised. MYTO in itself has a mechanism for review. It is a multi-year tariff order that has safety guards within it. Wherever there are issues raised by customers or even a service provider, the Commission has the responsibility to sit down, listen and review where necessary.

"MYTO already has a six month window for regular reviews. Also within it, if there are complaints regarding the implementation of the tariff order and the complaints were brought in within sixty days of its deployment, then the Commission is also obliged to sit."

Abba revealed that chairman of the Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi was meeting with the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises on the issue, saying "We have consulted the distribution companies and we are in the process of addressing this particular issue.

"It is a review that is already being taken care of. It is unfortunate that some particular groups have suffered this long but I can assure you we are putting all efforts to ensure that this is redressed."

He also insisted that the distribution companies across the country must provide metres to all customers in the next 13 months as ordered by the regulatory agency in June.

"We are insisting on that. It is an order from the Commission. It has not been withdrawn," Abba said.

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