NERC: New Customer-friendly Tariff Regime out Soon

James Momoh
Chairman of NERC, Prof. James Momoh
  •  AEDC issues 50,000 prepaid meters in Nasarawa

Peter Uzoho in Lagos and Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it is working on a new cost-reflective electricity tariff regime that is customer-friendly. Chairman of NERC, Professor James Momoh, disclosed this in Lagos at the 2018/2019 Graduation Ceremony of the Eko Distribution Training Programme (EDTP), where 99 staff of the Eko Disco, who participated in the training, were awarded certificates. He said the new electricity tariff estimate would be out soon for discussion and resolution by all the stakeholders in the industry.

In a related development, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) said on Saturday it had given about 50,000 prepaid electricity meters to its customers in the Nasarawa region of its franchise territory. General Manager, Corporate Communication of the AEDC, Oyebode Fadipe, revealed this to journalists at Mararaba, a suburb of Abuja, during the company’s Customer Consultative Forum for Nasarawa region of the company.

NERC said the issue of liquidity, a major complaint of the discos, was a problem of the past, as the commission had already come up with the evaluation of the market itself through enumeration of eligible customers.

“I am saying the cost-reflective issue is being taken care of, with different instruments that are in place,” Momoh said concerning the new tariff regime. “So, it will be good news very soon. The new prices, the new tariff estimate will be out and the customers will be involved in participating in the resolution of the commission. I think we are in the right direction now.”

He said the problem of liquidity was being addressed, explaining, “We have come up with the evaluation of the market itself; we do enumeration, we believe cost-reflective will be very reflective, when there are not too many losses in the system, when meters are installed, because you can’t be charging fees or making numbers up when you don’t really know how many customers are out there. So, the issue of enumeration has been put in place.

“We can’t be calculating prices when there are losses that I should not pay for. With meters now being provided, we now know exactly how much power you are using, and we know how many people are using it, and how much power you have purchased from the Gencos through the transmission providers.”

He added, “We can do a division, we can multiply anyway we want, and at the end of the day, we can surmise and summarise that in actual fact, this is the price we should pay, so give and take, it is a little profit to the discos. A disco is not there to do business for free. So, by the time customers are happy, discos are happy, we as the regulators are happy that we have done our job. Until that is reached, we are not stopping.”

Reacting to complaints arising from the inability of customers of discos to get electricity meters, especially with the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) initiative in place, Momoh said the commission was responsive to the complaints. He said all the discos that had obtained permits from NERC and their MAPs were committed to the full metering of consumers.

According to him, “I am sure that all the discos we have given permit are 100 per cent plus one committed with their MAPs to make this happen. We superintend the discussion, the decision that leads to a solution of MAP being available for all customers. Timing of doing it in terms of selling and deployment or making sure it is given at the right time is also within the hands of the discos and their providers.

“They have signed on a dotted line again that what they will do on a monthly basis in terms of deployment is also in the papers. Most of them will even publish it in the newspapers to make sure that the customers are aware of when meters will be rolled out in their neighbourhood but they must pay.

“It is not like you get meter and then you pay. I am sure the first thing is to pay, and, of course, the payment line is already in place – those who will pay upfront and those who will pay through some financing strategy that will be put in place. All that is made clear, but I think it is no problem.
“Personally, as a customer, I think it is the right thing they have done, what NERC has done, and all discos have bought into it.

“The time is gone now when someone will say I have no meter. You will get meter but make sure you follow the procedure, processes and systems in place. In other words, apply, pay and then sign papers and let it be done”.

In Nasarawa State, Fadipe said, “The 50,000 prepaid electricity meters were issued to 50,000 customers out of the 200,000 customers of the AEDC in the Nasarawa region, leaving a balance of 150,000.”

He dismissed insinuations that the prepaid electricity meters were purchased by the federal government and donated to the electricity distribution companies for the distribution of electricity to consumers free of charge.

According to Fadipe, “The Federal Government does not fund AEDC, or other electricity distribution companies in the country. The prepaid metering is strictly the responsibility of the electricity distribution companies in order to resolve the problem of power which lies on metering.”

He said AEDC took customers engagement very seriously because without the customers, the electricity distribution companies will not succeed.