The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has disclosed that power distributors that fail to supply the required quantum of electricity under the new service reflective tariff regime will compensate the affected consumers for defaulting in service delivery.

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According to the Commission, all Discos committed to delivering agreed quantum of power to customers in various categories beginning from September 1, 2020, when the new service reflective tariff regime started.

It was also gathered that the NERC would start monitoring the Discos on a monthly basis to ensure compliance by the power firms in terms of meeting the agreement.

The Vice-Chairman of NERC, who doubles as a commissioner at the commission, Sanusi Garba, told our correspondent in Abuja that the regulator had deployed a mechanism to monitor the Discos.

He said the service reflective tariff, which took effect on September 1, 2020, before it was suspended for 14 days after an agreement between the Federal Government and labour unions, would ensure that customers of distribution companies paid for what they consumed.

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He said, “The commission has come forward to say tariffs will be service-based, meaning that you will pay your rates in correlation with the level of service you get.

“Now, obviously the commission has its own mechanism for monitoring the performance of the Discos. This is because if a Disco says you are in Band C, it means the Disco is committed to giving you between 12 to 16 hours as minimum.”

Garba added, “So the role of the commission is to monitor and at the end of the month to determine which Disco has complied with their service commitment or not.

“And consumers will be compensated for failure to deliver on that service. We do not expect consumers to start putting gadgets to monitor electricity.”

He explained that the monitoring was on the basis of clusters, as the commission would monitor all consumers in a particular area, for instance, those on Bands A, B or C.

“Then the commission now determines whether the Disco has complied or not,” Garba stated.

He said the NERC would not expect consumers to be the ones to monitor compliance by Discos.

“Of course, if a consumer believes that there has been service failure, you follow the normal processes of complaint and the commission will step in to resolve the issue,” the NERC vice chairman stated.

When told that many consumers do not have the required meters to make the right tariff payments, Garba said the government was working towards providing funding for meters.

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He said, “On the issue of metering and the concern that consumers don’t have meters, I’m sure you are aware that the commission issued an order capping the amount of energy that an unmetered customer should be billed.

“That was designed to make all Discos to expedite the process of providing meters to all consumers because that is the way the electricity business is designed to run.”

He added, “Now in also approving this rates review, the President directed that financing should be put on the table so that all consumers are metered much faster than the rate that Discos can raise financing.”

Garba said the commission was now looking at the timelines, the rates, installation rates, specifications, etc, in order to make the story of estimated billing a thing of the past.