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NERC Faults Power Distributors’ Estimated Billing

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  • NERC Faults Power Distributors’ Estimated Billing

Electricity distribution companies have not effectively implemented the methodology for estimated billing issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the regulator has said.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NERC, Prof James Momoh, who described the methodology as a scientific method to estimate electricity consumption, said it was aimed at bringing fairness to customers who had no meters.

According to him, the provisions of the methodology require that all distribution transformers are metered so as to have a scientific means of deducting the consumption of customers who have meters from the distribution transformer meter and then share what is left appropriately to customers who have no meters.

“The Discos failed to do distribution transformer metering, which the methodology was heavily dependent on for fairness, hence the source of inaccuracy in estimated billing,” Momoh said in the January edition of NERC’s newsletter obtained by our correspondent on Sunday.

He, however, said the commission had maintained the implementation of the methodology of estimated billing and had, in some instances, sanctioned some Discos for overbilling.

According to Momoh, the Regulation on Meter Reading, Cash Collections and Credit Management (2007) states that estimated billing shall only occur where a distribution company is unable to obtain a meter reading at a customer’s premises.

He said, “It is expected that where a consumer is billed an unrealistic amount or crazy bill, he/she should pay the last estimated bill that he/she is comfortable with and then make a formal complaint to the consumer complaints office of the Disco.

“This complaint is expected to be resolved within 15 days. Where this is not done or the customer is unsatisfied with the resolution by the Disco, they may escalate the matter to the NERC forum office.”

Momoh said 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, with the provision of 1,640,000 meters expected annually over the next five years.

The NERC boss, however, said the Discos failed to abide by the performance agreement terms and also failed to effectively meter customers under the Credit Advance Payment for Metering Initiative.

“This setback meant that by December 2018, the number of customers had risen to 8,342,880 with 3,558,692 metered and a total of 4,784,188 unmetered and billed on estimates,” Momoh added.

He noted that the Discos had lamented at various times that the tariff granted by virtue of the MYTO 2015 Order remained insufficient for them to carry out the required investments in electricity infrastructure, comprising metering, network clean-up, customer enumeration and improvement to network assets.

Commenting on the metering scheme introduced by the regulator last year, he said, “The commission is currently reviewing the procurement process in the Discos, having appointed tender auditors to audit the Discos and ensure that the Meter Asset Providers appointed are the outcome of a transparent, cost-effective process that will guarantee Nigerians best price of qualitative meters.

“The commission is presently reviewing all submissions by Discos on the procurement of their MAPs. The MAPs will work with the Discos to ensure that the metering gap is closed.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

FG Launches New N25bn Youth Fund to Address Some of the Concerns Raised by #EndSARS Protesters

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Zainab Ahmed

FG Introduces N25 Billion Youth Fund

The Federal Government has introduced a new N25 billion youth fund to address some of the issues raised by the Nigerian youths who took to the street to demand good governance, among others.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting held with the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, in Kaduna.

Ahmed said the fund would be increased from N25 billion to N75 billion within three years to ensure new job creation for the youths.

The meeting was constituted as part of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministers and governors to dialogue with stakeholders on some of the concerns raised by #EndSARS protesters.

The finance minister said the aim was to support the Nigerian youths to actualise their innovative and entrepreneurial minds in business and general development of the nation.

On her part, Balarabe said the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on how to tackle security challenges faced during the #EndSARS protests.

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, who was also at the meeting, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to people-friendly policies and reforms.

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Economy

Kwara to Support Looted Businesses With N500 Million

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Kwara State to Fund Looted Businesses With N500 Million

Kwara State has joined the list of states supporting businesses that were looted and vandalised by hoodlums masquerading as #EndSARS protesters.

Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Governor of Kwara State, during a visit to the Kwara Mall and Agro Mall on Saturday said the state will support affected businesses with N500 million, adding that the funding is to reduce the negative impact of the looting on the state economy.

On Sunday, in a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Governor said the vandalism and looting may bring several businesses to their knees and lead to massive job loss with an increase in poverty rate.

He said, in order to avoid this, “We are setting up a N500 million fund for those that were affected to access.”

“The application form is live and active on the state government’s website and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back as soon as possible,” he assured.

The governor, who described the situation as a mindless looting of people’s businesses, said there can be no justification for such criminal behavour in our society and commiserated with affected owners.

Speaking on accusation of hoarding of palliatives, the Governor said the palliatives were donated by Private sector led CACOVID to specific vulnerable households and were being distributed gradually across the state.

What happened was bareface stealing and some people are playing politics with it. This is not the time to play politics. It is a time for all hands to be on deck. It is not just Kwara they wanted to burn down. They wanted to burn the whole country down. I urge all of us to stand up and resist that,” he said.

“We engaged the #EndSARS youth in Kwara and it worked out for us. They were not violent. They had a five-point agenda which the federal government has agreed to and has started implementing. In Kwara State, we have also set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the allegation of Police abuse. I also visited Police barracks to see how we can improve the welfare of the Police in the state.

“While the hoodlums were looting (on Friday), I was holding a meeting with executives and members of the National Association of Kwara State Students and National Association of Nigeria Students, Kwara axis. It shows students and youths were not part of the looting. Those involved were just hoodlums and thieves,” he said.

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Economy

IMF to Review Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Amid Destruction of Businesses, Properties

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IMF Says it May Review Nigeria’s Growth  Amid Recent Development in the Country

Following the destruction of businesses and properties that trailed the #EndSARS protest, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it may review the nation’s growth forecast in view of the new development in the country.

Abebe Selassie, the Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund, made the statement while responding to questions during a virtual IMF press conference on the economic outlook of Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday.

According to him, the protest is difficult given that Lagos is a very important economic hub and contributes to the overall Nigeria activities.

Selassie said, “On the growth projections in Nigeria, I mean, these protests happened of course, after we had closed, after the period where the data we looked at in making the growth projections for this economic outlook.

“And much will depend really on how these protests evolve.

“Lagos of course, is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities.

“So, if these persist and are showing significant effects on economic data, we will internalise them in due course.”

He further explained that the nation’s economy had been a difficult one in the last four years ever since oil prices plunged in 2015-16.

He said, “I think this is exactly why we have been on the record in Nigeria about how really critical it is to get all of the policy induced barriers out of the way to facilitate stronger economic growth.

“For the government to do more to raise revenues through the area of non-oil resources to be able to invest in health education which would, you know, allow people to be more successful at getting jobs but also improve the economy’s potential.

“So, I think that development agenda that Nigeria has, I think, has to be tackled with gusto and vigor so that the millions of jobs that the country needs can be created.”

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