- Electricity Consumers Groan as Meter Rollout Faces Fresh Delay
Electricity consumers in the country have expressed disappointment as meter rollout under the Meter Asset Provider scheme failed to kick off on May 1, more than one year after the initiative was introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The MAP Regulation was unveiled in March last year, with the aim of fast-tracking the roll-out of meters through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters.
It introduced a new set of service providers in the power sector, called meter asset providers, to assist the distribution companies in bridging the huge metering gap in the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
According to the regulation, the distribution licensees (Discos) and the MAPs shall enter into a metering service agreement, which shall provide for the number of meters to be installed 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.
But the procurement process for the MAPs was delayed, with the regulator saying in late March that it was reviewing the MAP procurement reports.
NERC said last month(April) that permits had been issued to the MAPs engaged by eight out of the 11 Discos, adding that the rollout of meters would commence no later than May 1, 2019.
The Discos are Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc, and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc.
“The meter rollout was supposed to start on May 1, 2019. But it has not. There have been a lot of complaints from our members across the country. They complained that even the meters that were paid for before now have not been given to them,” the President, Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, Mr Chijioke James, said on Wednesday.
He said, “One week into the deadline given by the regulator, the situation seems not to have changed. So, it behoves on the regulator to ensure that all stakeholders comply with that regulation. It ought not just to bark, but also bite; that way, we can have sanity in the sector.
“Our take is that the regulator should wake up and hold the power distributors accountable to the consumers. Consumers are beginning to lose confidence in both the regulator and the Discos. Not until we see improved services, we are not going to take the regular and the Discos seriously.”
James noted that the consumers had over the years expressed readiness to pay for meters.
He said, “If you look at the legal framework, the burden of meter provision is on the Discos. We want to warn the Discos to stop forthwith the issuance of estimated bills. We will no longer take estimated billing.”
The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, told our correspondent that the Discos would continue to collaborate with MAPs to ensure the rollout of meters to customers.
He said, “The Discos are in support of MAP. Ask the meter asset providers; they will confirm to you that is not as if the Discos are the ones throwing them down and we are not interested in pointing accusing fingers at anybody.
“We are happy about anything that will facilitate the provision of meters to people. I know Nigerians want meters as quickly as possible.”
Attempts to get comment from NERC on the matter were unsuccessful as the commission’s Head, Public Affairs Department, Dr Usman Arabi, had yet to respond to phone calls as of the time of filing the report. He said in a text message that he was in a meeting in Lagos.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Prof James Momoh, said recently that since the privatisation of the power sector, there had been a constant decline in the provision of meters to existing customers by the Discos while new customers had been added steadily to their networks, contributing to a significant metering gap.
He said investigations by the commission revealed that a total number of 5,172,979 electricity customers were registered as of May 2012, but only 2,893,701 had meters.
He noted that the Discos signed performance agreements with the Bureau for Public Enterprises in 2013, and were expected to provide 1,640,000 meters annually over the next five years.
NERC, in its latest quarterly report, noted that the metering gap for customers still remained a key challenge facing the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
It said out of the 8,310,408 registered electricity customers, only 3,704,302 (about 45 per cent) had meters as of the end of the third quarter of 2018.
With the MAP regulation becoming effective on April 3, 2018, the Discos were expected to, within 120 days from the effective date, engaged the services of MAPs towards the achievement of their three-year metering targets prescribed by NERC.
NERC noted that the deadline was fixed for July 31, 2018, but was extended to November 30, 2018 to engender more competition among potential MAPs, thus providing better value for consumers.
“Several of the Discos experienced slippage in the timeline stipulated by the commission and this infraction is being handled in line with the enforcement regulations of the commission,” it added.
Npower News Today: Npower Salary Update, Npower Latest News on Permanency
Latest Npower News Today: Npower Salary Update and Npower Latest News on Permanency
The Federal Government continues to engage private businesses and organisations on the absorption of exited batch A and batch B of the Npower program.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this in Abuja.
On continuity and sustenance, the Federal Government allocated N420 billion to Npower and other social investment programmes in the 2021 proposed budget before the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari also made mention of it in his last speech regarding the #EndSARS protest.
Buhari said, “In furtherance of our inclusiveness agenda, the sum of N420 billion has been provided to sustain the Social Investment Programmes, while N20 billion has also been set aside for the family homes and our Social Housing Programme.”
Speaking on unpaid exited Npower beneficiaries of batches A and B, the minister said “the ministry has directed that opportunity be given to the affected beneficiaries to verify and re-validate their eligibility so that qualified beneficiaries can be paid for their participation in the N-Power Programme.
“Beneficiaries are hereby directed to report to their State Focal Persons immediately with their bank account details including bank statements from March 2020 to date, NYSC Discharge Certificates, birth certificates and other related screening documents.
“The deadline for verification is October 13, 2020. Beneficiaries who fail to attend the verification exercise will forfeit their stipends.”
The fresh verification has now closed, however, the list of the successful candidates for Batch C would be announced soon according to the minister while the Federal Government continues to work on permanent placement for exited Npower beneficiaries.
On fake Npower news flying across social media, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, the Deputy Director Information of the ministry, said the attention of the ministry has been drawn to series of fake news trending on social media.
She said “the attention of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has been drawn to the fake news trending on social media that President Muhammadu Buhari will broadcast to the nation the absorption of N-Power Volunteers Batch A, into the Federal Civil Service,” the statement reads.
“The Ministry is hereby calling on the public to disregard the message and consider it as fake news. Any information on N-Power or the National Social Investment Programme will be issued through the appropriate Federal Government channels.”
Soldiers, Police Battle Hoodlums to Prevent Looting of Computer Village
Soldiers and Police Battle Hoodlums Trying to Loot Computer Village
Hoodlums that hijacked the #EndSARS protest and turned it into a broad day robbery have continued to attack business districts, offices and properties of known establishments to loot and destroy years of labour despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on these businesses.
Soldiers that were later joined by the Nigerian Police Force have been trying to repel hoodlums looking to break into computer village in Ikeja, Lagos State since the #EndSARS protest was hijacked.
According to residents and business owners contacted, the armed looters are still making an attempt to overpower security agents knowing there are valuables in the shops.
“Right now they are still making an attempt (to overpower security agents) and considering the sensitivity of the business that we do, we sell very valuable commodities and they understand the liquidity of these products,” said Adeniyi Ojikutu, president, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) said on the phone.
Ojikutu said the hoodlums, who were more than 500 in number, had shot in the air when they were discovered and remained close by for an opportunity to eventually break into the largest computer, mobile devices and ICT accessory market in Africa.
Also, because computer village is within close proximity to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), a new BRT station, Jara Mall, the Lagos State Police Command, Lagos State High Court and both the local and international Airports, it becomes imperative to protect it as a break-in by looters may spell disaster for other top establishments in the vicinity.
A resident said ‘Benin Boys’, a group of hoodlums, had earlier tried to invade computer village around 1 am but were prevented by security operatives. However, those that have been making attempts between the morning and afternoon of Friday were the Agege boys.
“The security were using megaphones to shout and warn all of us to stay inside,” said this resident.
Dangote Sugar Refinery Postpones Board Meeting Amid Social Unrest
Dangote Sugar Refinery Has Postponed Board Meeting Scheduled for Today Amid Social Unrest
The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc on Friday said they have decided to postpone the company’s board meeting scheduled to hold today October 23, 2020 to a date they will communicate soon.
The management said the decision was due to the ongoing precarious situation in the country, especially the attacks on various establishments since governor Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the state.
In a statement signed by the company secretary, Mrs. Temitope Hassan, Dangote Sugar Refinery said “Further to our announcement made on October 8, 2020, the Company wishes to notify the Exchange and the investing public that the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company earlier scheduled to be held on Friday October 23, 2020 to consider the draft unaudited financial statement of the Company for the Q3 ended September 30, 2020 has been postponed in view of the current precarious situation in the country.
“The new date for the meeting will be communicated as soon as normalcy returns. The Closed Period which has already commenced will continue till 24 hours after the filling of the Results.
“No insider of the Company, including its Directors, Employees, Advisers and Consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the Shares of the Company during the Closed Period.
All Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc Insiders have been duly informed.”
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