ABUJA— The Federal Government, yesterday, said with effect from today, electricity consumers that had no power supply for 15 days in a month are no longer required to pay the monthly N750 fixed charge to their respective Distribution Companies, Discos.
The Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who issued the directive at a briefing in Abuja, said it became necessary after the commission carried out investigations into complaints from consumers over continued payment of fixed charge even when service is not delivered.
Amadi said: “While the commission has determined that the fixed charge remains an essential component of the bill, it has, however, reviewed the continued retention of the fixed charge component in the tariff and payment of fixed charge in the light of consumer complaints, particularly with regard to continued payment of fixed charge even when the energy is not delivered to the consumer.
“On considerations of these complaints by the consumers, and considering the role of NERC in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, the commission, as provided under Section 32d, and Section 32f of the EPSR Act 2005, hereby order that effective May 1, 2014, where any customer of a distribution licensee has not received electricity supply for a period of 15 days in a month, such a customer shall not be required to pay fixed charge.”
Amadi, however, warned that the order stands provided the disruption is not due to nonpayment of electricity bill or other actions of the consumer such as tampering with electricity infrastructure, vandalism or unrelated to the fault of the distribution company.
He stated that there have been several complaints from consumers over the fairness or legality of the monthly fixed charges which prompted the commission to embark on independent investigation that led to the order.
“There have been a lot of comments from consumers about the fixed charge and the concern is whether it is fair and legal,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has reassured electricity consumers of improved power supply, following ongoing rehabilitation work on Kainji and Jebba power plants.
Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, who gave the assurance in his presentation to the Energy Committee of the ongoing national conference, in Abuja, said more power will be made available to Nigerians from the two facilities before the end of the year.
Nebo said the two plants, which have not undergone maintenance for decades, are now being serviced for optimum performance.
He also appealed to delega-tes to make recommendations that will lead to legislation for sufficient and sustainable power supply.