Home » NERC Orders Refunds for Overbilled Electricity Customers in Nigeria

NERC Orders Refunds for Overbilled Electricity Customers in Nigeria

Directive Aims to Correct Billing Errors by April 11 Deadline

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

In a significant move aimed at addressing customer grievances, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has mandated all electricity distribution companies (DisCos) across the nation to issue refunds to customers of Band B who were incorrectly charged at the new tariff rate of N225/KWh. This directive was part of the implementation guidelines for the April 2024 supplementary Multi-Year Tariff Order issued by the NERC on Saturday.

The directive emerges in the wake of widespread dissatisfaction among customers not classified under Band A, who found themselves being billed at the escalated rate of N225/KWh. Earlier in the week, the Federal Government announced the cessation of electricity subsidies for Band A customers, affirming that consumers in other bands would continue to enjoy electricity at pre-existing rates.

However, a technical oversight during the upgrade of payment platforms by some DisCos led to customers across Bands B, C, D, and E being overcharged, sparking a flurry of complaints and calls for redress. In response, the NERC has taken swift action, ordering all DisCos to compensate the affected customers adequately.

Part of the NERC’s directive specifies that “All DisCos shall ensure that only the newly approved Band A feeders listed in their April 2024 supplementary orders are maintained as Band A for the purpose of vending to prepaid customers and billing for postpaid customers on their networks.”

Moreover, DisCos are required to make public, via their official websites, a list of feeders that qualify as Band A under the revised tariff structure. An innovative measure included in the NERC’s order is the establishment of a customer portal by April 10, 2024, on each DisCo’s website. This portal will enable customers to verify their current band classification by simply entering their meter or account numbers.

For those customers who were erroneously billed at the higher rate, the NERC has stipulated that refunds must be issued in the form of energy tokens by no later than April 11, 2024. DisCos are also tasked with submitting proof of compliance with these directives to the commission by the following day, April 12, 2024.

The NERC has committed to closely monitoring the DisCos’ adherence to these directives, emphasizing its dedication to supporting all stakeholders throughout this adjustment process.

This development has sparked a significant reaction among the Nigerian populace, who have been vocal in their opposition to the tariff increase and the methodology used to categorize customers into different bands based on the hours of electricity supply they receive. The NERC’s intervention is a crucial step toward rectifying the billing inconsistencies that have affected numerous customers and underscores the regulatory body’s commitment to ensuring fairness and transparency in Nigeria’s electricity sector.

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