- Fashola, Power Firms’ Row Threatens Meter Rollout
The recently introduced Meter Asset Provider Regulations may have hit a snag as electricity distribution companies insist that metering is no longer in their hands, ’FEMI ASU writes
Despite the recent declaration by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, power distribution companies have failed to agree that the responsibility of providing meters to customers still lies with them.
The PUNCH quoted Fashola as saying on Monday that the Discos still had the responsibility of providing meters to customers as opposed to the recent position expressed by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, the umbrella body of Discos in the country.
He said the Meter Asset Provider Regulations, which was unveiled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in March this year, did not completely remove the responsibility of providing meters by the Discos.
The minister had, at the 29th power sector stakeholders’ meeting on Monday, said, “MAP, which was introduced to address meter supply gaps, provides relief to the Discos of the financial burden of supplying meters, and allows entrepreneurs to take this up as a business and diversify source of meter supply.”
The MAP Regulations 2018, which introduced another class of operators in the power sector called meter asset providers, is expected to eliminate estimated billing practice, attract private investment into the provision of metering services, and close the metering gap through accelerated meter rollout.
“The issue of metering is no more in the hands of any Disco in Nigeria. The regulator, of course, through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has taken over the issue of metering; that is the reason for that MAP regulation,” the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan, said at a press briefing on July 24 in Lagos.
NERC had announced on March 12 that power distributors would no longer have the sole responsibility of providing meters to electricity consumers.
When contacted on Wednesday by our correspondent, the Discos’ spokesperson, Oduntan, declined to respond to the minister’s statement.
He, however, said, “At the 18th monthly power sector meeting, which was held on August 14, 2017, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stated that the supply of meters is not exclusive to the Discos; that metering is not a primary duty of the Discos. That they were taking it out of the Discos’ hands.”
Oduntan stated earlier that the Discos were ready to support any move that would enable all customers to have meters.
He said, “The MAP Regulations is a baby of NERC and the Federal Ministry of Power. Our own role is to cooperate with them. They are the ones that own it; we are the ones to follow all the instructions as to how they want those things to be done, and we are willing and ready to do that.
“So, we support MAP. Only those who are ignorant think that we are not happy with it. What we are saying is that anything we want to do in the power sector must be done with transparency, value for money and integrity. That is what we are interested in. We will be very happy to see MAP succeed.”
He said the Discos were still rolling out meters to customers, adding that they were obligated to supply 1.7 million meters in five year in their performance agreements.
“So far, we have done 88 per cent of that. It is in our interest to meter our customers; we lose more money with estimated billing. Customers are not all metered because of two reasons: the huge gap and liquidity crisis.”
He said the Discos would continue to provide meters to customers “because we need to end the contention over estimated billing.”
At the August 14, 2017 meeting, Fashola had said, “While it is true that Discos have the obligation to meter customers, the law does not vest the monopoly of meter supply in them. Anybody who qualifies under the safety regulation by Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency and under the licences issued by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission can supply meters to customers under conditions by law.”
A Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs in NERC, Mr. Shittu Shaibu, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, argued that the introduction of the MAPs did not take away the responsibility of providing meters from the Discos.
“So, if somebody is coming in to help you with funding of a particular aspect of your business, does that mean the person is taking over your responsibility? Absolutely not,” he added.
He disclosed that the Discos were already implementing the procurement of the meter asset providers, noting that the MAP Regulations took effect in April and the procurement process commenced on July 1, 2018.
Shaibu said, “As soon as they finish the procurement, they will now come to the commission for approval. We have given a ‘no objection’ certificate to more than 50 MAPs now for them to start competing. The more people you have competing, the better it is for the customers as this will help bring down the prices of the meters.
“We are expecting that by January 1, 2019, all the MAPs would have been fully in place; it might be earlier depending on the procurement process of all the Discos. By January 1, metering is supposed to be done by MAPs.”
A power sector analyst at Ecobank, Mr Kareem Jubril, said the argument between the Discos and the minister could affect the implementation of the MAP Regulations.
He said, “If they don’t work hand in hand, it is going to create an issue. It is quite unfortunate that we are having this kind of situation. If it is not resolved, it is definitely going to affect it.
“Traditionally, Discos should be responsible for the distribution of meters. It will be a big mistake to take that responsibility away from the Discos. The thing is that government, in good faith, is trying to interfere in terms of making sure that the meter distribution is actually increased. But I think it is just a case of resolving issues between two parties, the regulator and the distributors, to find an amicable way of how the meters will be distributed and paid for.”
According to the MAP regulation, the distribution licensee (Discos) and MAP shall enter into a metering service agreement, which shall provide for the number of meters to be installed by the MAP in the distribution licensee’s network over an agreed period and the recovery of the cost of meter asset plus a reasonable return over a period of 10 years, among others.
The metering gap for all distribution licensees was put at 4,740,275 meters as of December 31, 2017.
“This is projected to significantly increase upon the conclusion of the ongoing customer enumeration exercise,” NERC said.
Based on the proposals submitted by the core investors in the Discos during the privatisation of the power firms in November 2013, about 6.52 million new meters were expected to be installed over the course of five years.
NAHCO Recalls Suspended GMD/CEO, Mrs Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi
Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi Resumes Work With NAHCO
The Board of Directors of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has recalled Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, who was suspended over Management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from vendor within the contracted period and Management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonable long delay.
Mrs. Fagbemi was suspended by the Board at a meeting held on 27th of January 2021 in line with the Board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by 2nd February 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer.
Since Mrs. Fagbemi commenced her suspension on February 3rd, 2021, Mr. Olumuyiwa A. Olumekun, the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, has been acting as the GMD/CEO, according to a statement put out by the company.
It said “the Board is however pleased to inform the investing public and the Exchange that on, Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.
“Consequently, the Board at its emergency meeting today, February 24, 2021, has recalled the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi from the suspension and she has resumed work.”
Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre
Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre
Businesses have started feeling the negative impact of the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil, known as diesel.
A single litre now goes for N250 in some parts of Lagos, with businesses taking a beating on the back of rising energy costs.
Our correspondent observed that some filling stations in Lagos had increased the price of the product to N250 per litre, while many others sold it at between N220-N245.
Northwest Petroleum along the Oshodi-Apapa road increased the pump price of diesel to N250 per litre; AP (Ardova Plc), along Airport road, Ikeja, N248; and Oando, along Acme Road, N240.
The National Bureau of Statistics, in its AGO price report on Tuesday, said the average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.22 per cent to N224.86 per litre in January 2021 from to N224.37 in December 2020.
It said states with the highest average price of diesel were Adamawa (N268.33), Zamfara (N262.78) and Kebbi (N257.50).
“States with the lowest average price of diesel were Osun (N194.60), Anambra (N195.83) and Enugu (N198.24),” the NBS added.
Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government means that the pump prices of the products will reflect changes in the international oil market.
The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, has risen by more than 25 per cent this year from the $51.22 per barrel at which it closed last year. It rose to $65.25 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Diesel is mostly used by businesses to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid.
The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr Femi Egbesola, lamented that the recent increase in the price of diesel was taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.
“The cost of diesel and raw material is giving us a nightmare. The price of diesel has been skyrocketing in a way that creates fear in particularly manufacturers,” he told our correspondent on Tuesday.
According to him, it is difficult for businesses to factor all the increase in diesel price in their final product prices.
Egbesola said, “That is why a lot of companies are downsizing and are making sure that they only produce products that they are so sure will sell in the market.
“Many companies have reduced their product lines significantly just to be able to cope. And that is not good for us because by the time this goes on, unemployment will increase. I believe government should be able to do something about this.”
He said although the downstream petroleum sector had been deregulated, there should be checks and balances.
Egbesola said many small businesses’ savings had been eroded already because ‘we keep spending our savings to make sure we don’t close shop’.
He said, “If things continue this way, there is no way we are not going to close shop. We are still struggling with the recent increase in electricity tariff.
“Many small businesses still depend so much on diesel generators because there is no alternative power supply. It is only the big players that have the facilities to use gas. And we cannot use solar installation because it is very expensive.”
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.
United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications
United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications
United Capital Plc has been appointed, Tolu Latunji as its Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.
In the new role, he is expected to drive a strategic communications, marketing and brand management programme for the investment banking group.
Latunji is a communication and marketing expert with 12 years’ experience in products development, marketing, brand & franchise building, effective management and communication of strategic objectives whilst ensuring adequate visibility for both organisation and product/service offerings through product, content and brand initiatives.
“With a 360 degree knowledge of communications and marketing, which includes but not limited to – brand management and initiatives, corporate affairs, internal and external affairs, product and brand marketing, event management and experiential marketing, cluster/segment marketing, Tolu has served at various capacities on government constituted sub-committees on financial inclusion,” a statement explained.
Prior to joining United Capital Plc, he was the Managing Partner of Ten & Square Media Co., a bespoke creative ideation and brand/crisis management firm, based in Lagos, Dakar and London.
Latunji was recently the Strategic Communications lead at FMDQ Securities Exchange, Nigeria’s first integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI), where he had the responsibility of effectively positioning the group, together with its subsidiaries, as the most sophisticated and technologically driven securities exchange in Africa.
Prior to that, he worked in Guaranty Trust Bank for nine years with roles in brand management & monitoring, events and experiential marketing, products and content marketing and user experience.
He led the marketing team to the successful development and launch of various retail, SME and corporate products. He was also instrumental in curating and developing the bank’s social footprints. Outside the corporate environment, Tolu engages in various humanitarian activities with food banks and empowerment programmes. He holds a B.Sc. Economics from University of Lagos.
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