The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has fined North-Western Energy Corporation (NWEC) K2.7 million for charging an unauthorized tariff to residential customers in Lumwana.
The ERB has since approved a tariff of K285.6/kwh effective May 1, this year far below the unauthorized K452.2/kwh the utility company was charging its customers.
ERB Board Chairperson, Sikota Wina has ordered NWEC to refund all residential customers that were charged the unauthorized tariff the difference between the approved rate and the disallowed rate from the time that they started charging the unauthorized rate.
“With effect from 1st May 2010, the approved tariff to be charged by NWEC is set at USC6/kwh; this translates to a tariff amounting to K285.6/kwh at the rate of K4,760/USD.
“The ERB further orders as follows: that NWEC be fined K2,700,000 for charging an unauthorized tariff to residential customers;
“that NWEC refunds all residential customers that were charged the unauthorized tariff the difference between the approved rate and the disallowed rate from the date that they started charging the unauthorized USC9.5/kwh up to 30th April 2010,” Mr Wina said.
Mr Wina said this during ERB meeting on the application by NWEC to effect electricity tariff held at Lumwana Mine in Solwezi today.
He further directed NWEC to work out and furnish the ERB with a mechanism by which it will compensate customers for the unauthorized tariff within 60 days and that the compensation must be made in full to all affected customers within 24 months thereafter.
Meanwhile, the ERB has commended NWEC for taking up the initiative to supply power to Lumwana and urged the utility company to expand its customer base.