Power Sector Investors To Set Up Customer Care Centres

The National Coordinator, Professionals and Business Groups of the People’s Democratic Party, Aroma Salifu, has said that the new investors in Nigeria’s power sector are expected to set up customer centres to address existing or arising issues following the official handover of the sector to private companies.

While speaking from our Abuja studio, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Salifu congratulated Nigerians and the Federal Government on the hand-over of the power sector to private companies through a credible and transparent process. He thanked Nigerians for their support, optimism, and for being hopeful about stable electricity.

“The process has been credible, has been transparent, has been fair and has been very competitive as being demonstrated in the last one year.”

On the outstanding payment of some PHCN workers, he stated that “the federal government has worked assiduously to ensure that all those who are entitled to being settled in the entire process are being settled as such.”

The remaining workers who are unpaid will be paid after the verification exercise is completed, he said.

The privitisation of the sector which took effect on the 1st of November has been touted as the solution to Nigeria’s power problem and stakeholders have expressed hopes that the country is closer to a new era of uninterrupted power supply.

However, Mr Salifu has stressed that the system needs to be overhauled as “there’s no way you will suddenly get stable electricity overnight.”

He added that there is a need for significant investment in the sector as the challenge cuts across the three aspects of generation, transmission and distribution.

“There is need for significant improvement and overhauling of the capacity to meet up with demands,” he said.

He disclosed that the World Bank is currently supporting the sector with about 1 billion dollars and there is a projection of FDI’s to the tune of 40 billion dollars.

These developments and investments are expected to translate into constant supply of electricity.

Although the country currently generates about 3500 MW, with its highest record of 4500 MW in 2012, Mr Salifu assured that the NIPP will supply an additional 10,000 MW while the off grid sources including wind, solar energy, coal, are expected to supply another 10000 MW.

However, the current projections only cover those who are already connected to power and not communities which are not yet connected.

The aggregate demand of power in Nigeria stands at 12000 MW.

He assured that the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) would ensure that the key players in the sector deliver what is expected to power consumers and “equally guarantee that consumers are not unfairly treated.”

“Since the private sector has taken over, it is a matter of time that generation is going to be improved upon significantly.”

FG To Go Ahead With PHCN Assets Handover

Despite the threat of a nationwide strike by electricity workers come November the 1st, the federal government says it would go ahead with the physical hand over of the company’s assets to the new owners on that day.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Power, Mister Godknows Igali, announced this after a meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo, on the power privatisation process.

He added that the federal government had made significant progress in the payment of the disengaged workers, saying 40,093 out of the 47,913 identified disengaged PHCN workers had been fully paid their entitlements which he put at 294.4 billion Naira.

It will be recalled that President Gooduck Jonathan had formally handed over the Power Holdings Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to private organisations that bought it, with a pledge that they would take over the companies without any liabilities.

The President who personally gave out the licenses and share certificates to the investors at the Aso Rock Villa stated that liabilities of the PHCN would be managed by Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, NELMCO.

Privatisation is 101 Per Cent Solution To Power Problem – Onofowokan

The Managing Director of Power Systems Limited, Mr Bimbo Onafowokan has said that the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector is the answer to the problem of power failure, adding that the sector will eventually meet the people’s needs of electricity.

Speaking as a guest on Business Morning on Tuesday, he said “if we have been doing something for over 50 years and it hasn’t gotten us to our desired place, why don’t you try something else? I don’t believe it will get worse, it can only get better”.

Comparing the situation in the power sector to that of the telecommunications when it was newly privatised, Mr Onofowokan expressed hope that just as the telecoms industry faced and conquered its challenges, the power sector would do same.

“I believe we would see repeat in the power sector where the regulators would have a lot of challenges to bridge the gap between the desires of the consumers and those of the operators,” he said

Speaking about the controversy surrounding former staff of the power holding company that were paid off, Mr Onofowokan said “change has to happen.”

NERC Establishes Public Complaints Office In Kaduna

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has established a public complaints office in Kaduna state.

This latest initiative introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is aimed at tackling the numerous challenges facing the power sector in the state.

Commissioner in charge of government and customer affairs of NERC, Abba Ibrahim, pointed out that the forum was established as part of efforts to ensure efficiency in the power sector.

He explained that complaints that could not be settled at the customer care units of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company would be addressed by the forum office especially issues of over billing and poor service delivery.

The introduction of a forum office is expected to serve as one of the appeal levels for customer complaints to address disputes between electricity consumers and service providers.

Estimated billing has proven to be a major problem between consumers and the power holding company of Nigeria. With a huge deficit of meters, Nigerians across the country often lament the irregularity in their electricity charges

Residents say this public complaints forum, which has been inaugurated in eight states of the federation and the federal capital territory may not readily address the core challenges of electricity supply but may provide some respite, hopefully.

NERC Official speaks on crazy billing by PHCN

Uche Okoro, the Special Assistant, Research and Strategy to the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi on Tuesday blamed the reported incidences of overestimated billing by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to corruption in the electricity distribution companies.

Mr Okoro, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, assured Nigerians that once the distribution companies are fully concessioned, the cases of estimated billing will be a thing of the past.

He also spoke about the plan of the NERC to ensure that all electricity consumer get the prepaid meter before the 18 month deadline set by the commission.

Watch the video below for the complete discussion.

PHCN officials sell free prepaid meters for N40, 000 – Analyst

A public affairs commentator, Paul Utho on Monday said the system of estimated billing and irregular metering is still the bane in the distribution of electricity in Nigeria after several months of proposing reforms in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Utho said though the Chairman of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi had announced that the prepaid meters were to be distributed free, officials of PHCN collect as much as N40, 000 for the meters.

“Meters are no longer to be paid for by customers… Please, refuse to pay for meters and report anyone who asks or collects money for meter to the NERC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” Mr Amadi had said a recent e-conference organised by Spaces for Change.

Mr Utho however said: “People are still paying N25, 000 for single phased meters, minus the N25, 000, you have to pay N10, 000 for connection and you have to pay N5, 000 for documentation that is N40, 000 in all.”

Watch the video below for more:

Over N500 million PHCN pension trapped in London – Report

A panel set up to investigate the electricity workers’ pension contributions in the power sector has submitted its report to the minister of state for power.

PHCN employees protest over pension

Submitting the report on Monday in Abuja, the Chairman of the investigative panel and a former Auditor-General of the Federation, Joseph Ajiboye said that Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s (PHCN) workers’ pensions was never a contributory scheme and was never funded by a budgetary allocation but rather through an internal arrangement in the company.

“The problem with the PHCN was that they didn’t have sufficient fund to be able to meet the requirements of that closed system, that is the major problem,” he said.

Another major finding of the report according to Mr Ajiboye, was the existence of a mini—estate constructed to service the electricity workers’ retirement fund which was sold off without remissions to the fund, thereby starving the fund and making it impossible to pay off retired workers.

The eight-man-panel also reported that over two million pounds (approximately N500 million) which ought to have gone to the retirement fund is presently stuck in a London account and that if recovered could help solve the ongoing impasse between the electricity workers and the federal government.

The former Auditor-General said he believes that “government in its wisdom will find a solution to this problem.”

The investigative panel’s report has long been awaited. The panel was given 30 working days to probe the PHCN pension scheme especially the details of the N300 billion allegedly accumulated in the NEPA retirement fund which the former minister of power, Barth Nnaji had insisted was only N3 billion.

The Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Wya, while receiving the report from the panel said “We hope this report will aid us to find a solution the lingering labour issue. And you know the only labour issue that is outstanding now is that of pension.”

The PHCN staff are demanding a 25 percent benefit on their pensions different from the 15 percent severance package offered by the federal government on grounds that this was a set standard for pensions and gratuity payoff peculiar to the PHCN pensions scheme under the retirement fund.

Reactions trail Nnaji’s resignation

A columnist with Thisday Newspaper, Simeon Kolawole has said that the former Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji took the right thing to have step aside from the power sector since his companies had interest in the sector.

Speaking as a guest in Channels Television’s weekend programme, Sunrise, Mr Kolawole said that though on assumption of office, the minister said that he has ceded his stakes in the companies to a blind trust, practically, this was not possible.

Understanding NSE Sharia-compliance index

Islamic wealth manager Lotus Capital and Nigeria’s bourse (NSE) on Monday launched a debut index of Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed companies that comply with centuries-old Islamic investment principles.

The NSE Lotus Islamic index, which covers 15 equities with combined market capitalisation of around 2.87 billion naira ($18 mln), excludes banks, companies with high levels of debt or leverage and other stocks that conflict with Islamic principles.

The stock exchange said the new index is designed to attract Sharia/ethical investors to Nigeria’s fledgling stock market, particularly those from the Middle East.

The new index is weighted towards fast moving consumer good, cement, oil marketing and manufacturing sectors and includes heavyweight Dangote Cement.

No sector will be allowed to account for more than 40 percent of the index, Lotus said, noting that the index will be reviewed every six months.

Continue with privatisation but take care of us, PHCN workers tells FG

The current impasse over the takeover of management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, by the Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International, has brought into sharper focus the challenge of implementing power reform that would ensure provision of adequate and stable electricity for millions of Nigerian businesses and homes.

Electricity workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have vowed to resist the takeover of power installations by private management interests, and last week took to the streets yet again in protest against the management contract of the TCN.

In a move that speaks to their determination to resist change in the country’s despondent power sector, the unionists had set up blockades, resisting an alleged scheduled inspection visit of the Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji and officials of Manitoba Hydro International to the corporate headquarters of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which houses TCN in Abuja.

NUEE had alleged that the July 31, 2012 scheduled takeover of TCN management by Manitoba as contained in the three years management contract between the firm and Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) runs contrary to agreements as reached in their series of dialogue with government as overseen by the Hassan Sunmonu-led negotiation panel.

Power projects in Rivers state suspended due to poor quality of work

Contractors working on two Distribution EPC projects of the National Independent Power Project, NIPP, at Eneka and Oyigbo area of Rivers State has been ordered to stop work immediately due to what they termed poor quality of the jobs.

This order came from the National Assembly Joint Committee on Power and the Chairman of the committee, Senator Philips Aduda, his deputy, Hon Patrick Ikhariale spoke to journalists yesterday after members of the committee who inspected the projects scored the quality of work going as very low as they also doubted materials brought in for the execution of the projects.

The lawmakers said a proper verification will carried out by independent experts on the jobs and transformers to know if they are new ones after which work can then resume on the project sites.