April 5, 2024

Tariff Hike: NERC fines AEDC N200m for overcharging customers


By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja 

Barely 48 hours after it increased electricity tariff for customers in Band A, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has imposed a N200 million fine on the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, for increasing tariff for customers that are not on Band A.

Band A customers are those who receive a minimum of 20 hours of power supply per day. Customers outside this category have complained that their rates have been increased by AEDC without the 20-hour supply in contravention of NERC’s order.

In a statement on Friday, the Commission said AEDC has been fined ₦200,000,000 for failure to comply with the prescribed customer band classifications for tariff billing.

“This decision follows a detailed review and customer feedback, which revealed that AEDC had applied the new tariff to all customer bands, contrary to the order, which was designed to ensure fair billing practices.

“AEDC is therefore mandated to: a. reimburse all customers in Bands B, C, D, and E, respectively, that were billed above the allowed customer categories/tariff bands provided in the order. b. Reimburse through the provision of the balance of customer tokens that the affected customers would be entitled to receive at the applicable rates, and all token reimbursements shall be issued to the affected customers by 11 April 2024.

“c. pay the sum of ₦200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira) as a fine for the flagrant breach of the Commission’s Order. d.File evidence of compliance with the directives in a & c with the Commission by 12 April 2024”.

The Commission explained that its action “underscores its commitment to protecting consumer rights and ensuring equitable practices within Nigeria’s electricity sector.”

AEDC admitted on Thursday that some customers were wrongly billed, blaming it on a glitch in its system. 

It stated, “This is to inform customers across the Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc (AEDC) franchise that we are aware of the wrong charges faced by some Band A customers who tried to recharge their meters following the new tariff regime.

“This was due to a system glitch caused by the reclassification of some Band A customers who have now been downgraded to Band B due to the number of hours of electricity supply enjoyed over the past few weeks. These erstwhile Band A customers who vended were charged the new tariff of N225 per kilowatt hour. Our team is working to identify the customers affected, and all excess charges will be refunded.

“The situation also saw some Band A customers who are now charged N225 vend at the old rate. Once the glitch is resolved, this category of customers will now recharge their meters at the new rate of N225, which will ensure they enjoy a minimum supply of 20 hours daily.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers during this change. We remain committed to improving the power supply to all categories of customers, and we crave your understanding and support as we do this.”