This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: NERC to Review Electricity Tariffs Paid By SMEs

Barely five months after it introduced new electricity tariffs under the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has announced that it will review them.

NERC said that the review was being undertaken as a result of complaints from electricity consumers, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the high fixed fee they are compelled to pay every month, irrespective of the quantum of electricity supplied to them monthly.

The Executive Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs at NERC, Dr. Abba Ibrahim, confirmed this to journalists on the sidelines of a power consumer assembly convened on Moday in Dutse, Jigawa State, by NERC.

Abba said having received complaints from this category of electricity consumers, the commission had put a process in motion to resolve such complaints from the SMEs, adding that the new tariff regime will provide for a review mechanism to address 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 60 days of its deployment, then the commission is also obliged to sit.

"We have had complaints from commercial operators; specifically, SMEs, complaining about high fixed charges, which are equivalent to charges paid by consumers in the industrial categories.

"It is a complaint that was laid and met the criteria for review within 60 days of the MYTO order. We are now in the fifth month of the implementation of the tariff."

Abba further explained: "These complaints were made within the 60 days of implementation and we have sat down with all the stakeholders. My Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, is meeting with the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises on this particular issue as we speak.

"We have consulted the distribution companies. We have met severally and we are in the process of addressing this particular issue.

"So 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 this year.

"We are insisting on that. It is an order of the commission. It has not been withdrawn. An order is an order. We are operating a rule based sector now. We believe that with the coming in of private operators, they will even be more aggressive in terms of revenue drive.

"One of the success stories is what has happened in Dutse. Our team had monitored the metering in Dutse and they reported that we have over 60 per cent of the areas they had covered with prepaid metres already installed. "They were also installed free of charge as ordered by the commission since June 1 and this is what we expect throughout the whole country," Abba noted.

He stated that NERC would do everything within its power to ensure full compliance with the order.

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