Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jubilations as NERC finally scraps N700 service charge, bulk metering and estimated billing

In the spirit of transparency and accountability in the monitoring of the electricity market, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has responded to the query issued it by the Senate on Fixed Charge, Estimated Billing and Sundry issues.
In an address to newsmen; at the headquarter of the Commission,  Chairman/Chief Executive of NERC, Dr Sam Amadi informed that the Commission received seven queries from Senate, which the Commission has respectfully responded to the queries touched on the customer complaints by electricity consumers, the fixed charge, bulk metering of customers and estimated billing
NERC has finally instructed discos to abolish
A letter addressed to the Senate by the NERC chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, stated
“The commission agrees with the Senate’s position on the need to eliminate the practice of bulk billing residential customers and replace the practice with individual metering and billing. It is important to state that the commission had previously abolished bulk billing in its ruling on the VGC Case CASE NO: NERC/H/03/07 (copy attached). This case was brought by a customer against the VGC Estate Management.”
Amadi added that NERC would ensure that whatever Discos proposed for its approval was fair, reasonable and meant to improve the quality of power supply to consumers.
He stated, “In recognition of the negative impact of the fixed charge, the commission has held several public consultations to ascertain a measure that will guarantee financial viability in the industry and not expose consumers to paying for electricity not consumed. Based on the intervention of the commission, the distribution companies have agreed to find a way to restructure the fixed charge such that a consumer who does not receive electricity supply does not pay the fixed charge.
“This remodelling of the fixed charge will be part of the on-going tariff review process being conducted by the distribution companies. NERC will continue to ensure that whatever model is presented for its approval is fair and reasonable, and ensures the survival of the new electricity market and improves quality of supply to consumers…
“The decision of the commission stipulated that every customer is expected to be metered individually, irrespective of the status of supply coming into the area, and the class of billing should be on R2 or as appropriately determined by Disco.”
Amadi further disclosed that the commission had provided a leeway for the application of estimated billing, saying estimation should only be applicable in situations where residential meters are not provided to customers. He said that communities placed on bulk billing arrangement should immediately reject it and demand individual meters.
The NERC chairman said, “The commission is in the process of completing public consultation on a proposal to cap the amount an unmetered customer can pay until he or she is metered. The proposal will also commit distribution companies to strict deadline for metering of all its customers.
“In the interim, the commission has abolished connection of new customers without meters.”
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