NERC Denies 2.7bn Naira Severance Package

NERC Denies 2.7bn Naira Severance PackageThe Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has dismissed claims that it set aside 2.7 billion Naira as severance pay for its commissioners.

The NERC Chairman, Dr Sam Amadi, refuted the claims on Tuesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Power investigating the alleged plan by the commission to make the payment.

Declaring the public investigation open, the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, said there was an urgent need to address a lot of issues in the power sector.

The Chairman of the committee, Honourable Daniel Asuquo, listed some of the objectives of the hearing.

The committee is also probing the power sector to understand the challenges faced by major players in the sector and how the parliament can help address them.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, also made a brief appearance before the committee.

Also in attendance were representatives of regulatory agencies, electricity distribution companies and power generating companies.

The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday.

Consumer Protection Council Investigates High Cost Of Electricity

Electricity-meterThe Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in Nigeria has launched an investigation into the high cost of electricity by distribution companies, with a view to putting an end to high tariffs.

At a meeting held in Abuja on Friday between the officials of distribution companies and the CPC, the Director General of the Council, Mrs Dupe Atoki, said there had been an increase in complaints by electricity consumers in the last few months bordering on indiscriminate increase in electricity bills, non-supply of meters and mass disconnections.

Mrs Atoki said the CPC would not hesitate to sanction distribution companies found guilty of the allegations brought against them.

The meeting had been called to look at ways of ensuring that no electricity consumer in Nigeria was short-changed.

Complaints by electricity consumers have been on the rise in the last few months and some of the issues raised, which were discussed at the meeting, are the refusal of distribution companies to install pre-paid meters in consumers’ homes, high and estimated charges.

The Executive Director, Regulatory and Stakeholders, Abuja DISCO, Abimbola Odubiyi and the Head of Customer Service, Port Harcourt Distribution Company, Godwin Oruwiroro, gave reasons for the delay in the distribution of prepaid meters.

Recently, at a public hearing on power, the Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Sam Amadi, expressed displeasure with the non-installation of prepaid meters in consumers’ homes among other issues bothering on service delivery.

NERC Blames Poor management For Lack Of Sustainable Electricity

NERCThe Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, on Tuesday blamed poor project management for the inability of the sector to generate and guarantee sustainable electricity.

He said this at a meeting between the commission and performance management officers of generation companies in the country.

Dr Amadi said the sector needs to develop skills that will enable it project and deliver on needed targets.

He also reminded the industry performance management officers that they have signed up to a capacity improvement agreement, adding that “we will monitor and our monitoring is not to penalise, it is to help us to learn more so the industry can improve.

“Now that utilities are private sector based, we have been able to resolve the remodelling issue, thus focus on project management”, he said, expressing hope that the country can end the year with at least 6, 000 megawatts.

Electricity Fixed Charges: Regulator Says Abolition Not Possible

power-plant-with-meterThe Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ruled out the abolition of fixed charges on electricity tariffs, as recently directed by the Senate.

An official of the regulatory body said that the directive undermined the electricity laws enacted by the National Assembly.

The Chairman of the NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, told reporters on Monday that taking such a decision without appropriate consideration could cause a collapse in the power sector.

Dr. Amadi said that due process, which is currently ongoing, could cause a review of fixed charges to ensure free and reasonable costs to consumers.

He reiterated that the fixed charges were legal and an important part of electricity pricing framework that supports the functioning of electricity generation, transmission and distribution, without which the sector might collapse.

Exploitative In Nigeria

He said fixed charges were part of electricity market globally but tends to be exploitative in Nigeria, as a result of epileptic power supply for which consumers are compelled to pay, a trend he said would change, as electricity generation and supply improve.

Since the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and the introduction of distribution companies, the power sector has been beset by complaints of outrageous electricity bills and tariffs by different levels of consumers.

On July 11, 2015, the Senate asked the NERC to abolish fixed charges paid by electricity consumers across the country.

To eliminate the negative impact and perception of the fixed charges, Dr. Amadi said the commission had mandated the distribution companies to restructure the charges to ensure that it was proportionate to actual electricity consumed.

Also addressed by the commission was consumers’ concern on estimated billing which the NERC boss said a public consultation would soon be conveyed towards introducing a benchmark for estimations to end outrageous bills.

EU To Offer Nigeria €150m Grant For Power Sector Improvement

NERCThe European Union (EU) has announced the availability of 150 million Euros grant to Nigeria to give the power sector the needed boost.

At an interactive session with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja on Thursday, the team leader of the EU delegation, Mr Peter Cameron, said the delegation was exploring possible areas of assistance to address Nigeria’s power challenge.

The Chairman of the NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, however, added that the Commission would study the details of the grant and decide on how best the offer could be accessed and optimally utilised.

Nigeria is currently generating below 4,000 megawatts capacity, grossly inadequate for a population of over 160 million.

Residential Consumers Are Not Included In Tariff Reduction – NERC

NERCThe Chairman of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says reduction in billing is only applicable to commercial and industrial consumers, stating that they were the only categories of consumers who had earlier experienced increase in tariff.

Dr Sam Amadi, in a telephone interview with Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said that the development would take effect from April.

Amadi stated that no consumer who is residential was expected to have experienced an increase in tariff.

He advised that any consumer who is not commercial or industrial but has experienced an increase in tariff should communicate with their supplier.

He also addressed the issue of metering, urging consumers to exercise patience, adding that not all consumers need to be metered before increasing tariff.

The NERC Chairman advised that electricity companies should setup an advocacy to engage on a platform that would address consumer issues.

Electricity Commission To Involve Consumers In Fixing Tariff

smart metersThe Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERDC), Dr Sam Amadi, on Wednesday said plans are under-way for electricity consumers to jointly fix electricity tariff with distribution companies.

He also said consumer groups will be set up shortly to introduce orderly intervention in tariff and regulatory activities.

He further noted that this will require regular meetings between distribution companies and consumer groups before tariffs are set for electricity which will also be subject to approval by the commission.

This move, according to Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi, is set to eliminate over-bloated tariffs and the incessant complaints by consumers.

Pipeline Vandalism Is Political, NERC Chairman Alleges

gas-pipeline-vandalisationThe Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, on Thursday said pipeline vandalism in the country may be political as there is no economic value derived from the action.

Dr Amadi made the allegation at the continuation of the Nigerian Political Parties discussion series in Abuja.

However, the Spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Lai Mohammed, accused the PDP administration of playing politics with the issue of vandalism of pipelines by giving contracts for the surveillance of pipelines to Niger Delta militants.

The meeting was one of the few occasions in the run up to the 2015 general elections where a representative of the federal government and the opposition party share a platform to discuss issues affecting the country.

This time the discussion centered on the persistent irregular supply of electricity in Nigeria.

Dr Amadi said the present administration’s power sector reform is creating an enabling environment for sustainable investment that would result in an improvement both in quantity and reliability of electricity supply.

But Mr Mohammed said the privatisation of the power sector, which, according to him, was supposed to be a solution to the problem of irregular electricity supply, has failed woefully.

Both sides, however, agreed that vandalism of the gas pipelines have contributed to the irregular electricity supply situation in the country and spoke about how their parties intend to address this challenge.

However a public analyst, Dr Okey Ikechukwu, who was on the panel, said the electricity situation in the country is set to improve in the coming months.

Dr Amadi also assured that the regulatory commission would continue to be transparent in its actions and work towards the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable investment in the power sector.

FG Announces Bailout For Power Companies

PowerThe Federal Government is to provide the sum of 213billion naira to the newly privatised power companies to facilitate the settlement of legacy debts worth 36billion naira and the settlement of shortfalls in gas supply to power plants.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, made the pronouncement at a world press conference she addressed on the efforts of government towards improving gas to power and electricity supply in Nigeria.

According to her, this provision, among other measures, would boost investor confidence and increase power stabilisation to 5000 megawatts in 2015.

She rose from addressing the unions over the recent fuel queues in the country which she said has been settled, to address the press on the progress made to give Nigerians steady power supply.

She enumerated the problems to include inadequate gas, electricity tariff issues and reduced income due to shortfall in revenue. She said that only the newly privatized companies have borne the brunt since handover in November 2013.

The solution, going forward, is the bail out.

She said that the private sector who are now in control would repay in ten years and that they must ensure that a minimum quantum of electricity produced by the generating companies get to the distribution companies. She also spoke about the security of the gas pipelines and measures put in place to mitigate the problems facing it.

The Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, explained how the companies got to accumulating the debt from 25billion to 36billion naira. He also gave the guarantee that there would be no more debts.

The Federal Government believes that the recent measures would reset the power sector and Nigerians expect that there would be a better picture by the time they address the next press conference on power supply.

Gas To Power Cost Needs To Be Competitive – Sam Amadi

Power costThe Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Sam Amadi, has said that the lasting solution to the power situation in the country is for the cost of gas to power to be competitive.

He said this during a conversation on the Friday edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television.

The Chairman explained that the power supply in the country has been low because the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), which was expected to generate 2500 megawatts of power, can only generate 600 megawatts.

He assured that by the end of the year, about 500million scf. of gas would be gathered from different gas projects which could add close to 6000 megawatts of power at the end of the year.

Mr Amadi, who had earlier said that a better power situation is primarily based on the generation of more gas, admitted that there were two weak links in the sector, one was capacity and the other was distribution, which is due to failure of network.

He suggested that if the distribution companies strengthen their network, improve capacity and change damaged installation, it would bring about more power, more revenue and therefore more investment in the system.

He disclosed that a lot was being done to achieve a better power situation in the country, as the plan of Federal Government is to offset 25billion Naira to old companies that supply gas to the private independent power plants and to also ensure more supply of gas to power.

He added that the debt being paid are both legacy owned by the power sector before the handover and debts accumulated since November, after handover.

He, however, added that only debt for gas would be payed, “debts of contracts, legal cases are not going to be payed but debts for gas used will be payed by CBN.”

He disclosed that the DISCOs would pay back the CBN based on tariff.

NERC Releases Regulations For Review Of Electricity Tariff

power-plant-with-meterThe Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has released two draft regulations for the review of tariff and investments in the electricity networks.

The chairman of the commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, said the regulations were necessary to ensure a balanced operation in the electricity generation and supply industry.

Investors had expressed concerns over increase in the cost of doing business, which will affect effective service delivery in the sector.

At a public hearing at the headquarters of the NERC on Wednesday, key players in the energy sector came together to brainstorm on the draft regulations for investments in electricity networks and procedure for tariff reviews in subsequent years.

The chairman of the commission told the gathering that the procedure for major, minor and extraordinary tariff reviews and investments are critical towards efficient electricity supply and distribution.

The regulatory commission’s boss also spoke on the recent increase in the price of gas, saying it is aimed at increasing capacity and the power generation capacity.

The commission said that there would be more gas production if all the planned changes in the gas sector were implemented which would translate to sufficient and constant electricity and over the years, a reduction in the price of gas.

Technical And Economic Regulation Of Nigeria’s Power Sector

NERC Sam AmadiWith the ongoing reforms in Nigeria’s power sector, particularly the privatisation of generation and distribution companies, there are expectations of a truly liberalized market in which consumers will mostly pay for services that they enjoy, while service providers will strive for quality operations.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, was set up to undertake technical and economic regulation of this industry.

The commission is to license operators, determine operating codes and standards, establish customer rights and obligations and set tariffs.

NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, is our guest on this edition of ‘View From The Top’.