A Matter of Semantics


THE federal government has not increased electricity tariffs since 2011. According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, the yearly rise in power tariffs over the years had been benchmarked since 2011. The commission said that electricity distribution companies had been mandated to comply with the already established rates.

The commission’s clarification on the issue was in reaction to  public outcry over the fixed charges reflected in electricity bills despite poor supply, which have prompted protests in some quarters. Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, said there had been series of misconceptions about the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO.

Amadi, in a statement signed by Usman Arabi, head, public affairs department, NERC, explained that the MYTO was a five-year tariff arrangement, adding that the amount paid as electricity bills by consumers had since been benchmarked. “When we say that we have not increased tariff, we do not mean that the tariff you paid in 2011 is what you are paying now; rather, we mean that the order of the tariff published has not been changed. That is why it is called Multi-Year Tariff Order. It simply means that we have benchmarked the cost,” he said.

The NERC boss, however, urged power consumers to report to the commission errant Discos charging beyond what was benchmarked for them in their regions. According to him, by June 1, of every year, electricity tariffs change in such a way that there is a fixed tariff for the next five years.

Amadi said the distribution companies should not be accused of increasing tariff arbitrarily with regard to the fixed charges since it had been factored into the MYTO. He also stated that the commission expected a robust metering of electricity consumption by the Discos and warned against estimated billing. “That someone does not have a meter does not mean that he must be given over-estimated bills. Meters must be read and customers charged accordingly.”

Amadi urged the distribution companies to fast-track the metering system, stressing that the commission was interested in real action. He also urged all customers to pay their bills promptly and those who indulged in electricity theft to desist from the act, warning that the agency would punish anyone found bypassing the metering system.

What Core Investors Need for Protection

THE Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, has appealed to the National Assembly to enact a strong anti-theft legislation to empower Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, successor companies to prosecute electricity vandals and customers who attack utility personnel in the cause of their duties.

Matthew Edevbie, managing director, 4Power Consortium Limited, the core investor of the distribution company, made the appeal when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Commercialization and Privatisation who were in Port Harcourt in continuation of their nationwide oversight visit to various successor companies created out of the defunct PHCN.

Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power
Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power

Edevbie revealed that the PHEDC, among other critical achievements since taking over the Disco in November 2013, had undertaken the construction of new 33KV lines at Trans Amadi Industrial area, re-conduction of Okrika 11KV feeder for Jokrama Communities in Ahaoda, commissioned the NIPP 1 x 15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at Ikot Abasi; RVSG constructed 1x15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at Eleme; RVSG constructed 1x15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at Eliozu-Eneka; 4 units of 1 x 15MVA and 15MVA Injection Substation in Trans Amadi; 22 units of Distribution Substations, and general maintenance of the network.

He, however, lamented that the condition of the network his company inherited was worse than envisaged and listed higher average technical, commercial and collection, ATCC, Loss than the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, assumption, vandalism, among others as the challenges experienced by PHEDC.

In a similar tour of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Robert Dickerman, managing director, of the Disco, called on the federal government to address the problems of inadequate gas supply to the Gencos and pipelines vandalism which militate against power generation in the country. He further revealed that Nigerian engineers and accountants were currently being interviewed for employment by the company.

In her remarks, Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, said the purpose of the oversight tour was to assess the performance of the companies since the acquisition of the 60 percent equity in the enterprises. It would also enable members to review the development and investment plans for improving, maintaining and stabilizing power distribution in the country. “We will like to have honest interactive discussions on the challenges with the view to intervening for the benefit of the investor and the Nigerian people,” she said.

Abba-Ibrahim also revealed that her committee was using the visit to ascertain the level of compliance with the post acquisition development plans submitted to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, by the core investors, challenges in implementing the Share Sale Agreement with a view to partnering with the investors to make recommendations for appropriate legislation that would help in resolving the challenges and stabilizing power generation, distribution and transmission across the country.

She commended the management of the companies for their concerted efforts and well articulated plans to expand the network and urged them not to relent in their efforts at making the company a success.

EKEDC Goes Into Embedded Power Generation


THE Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, has said it was targeting 400 megawatts, of embedded power supply to its consumers within the next one year. Oladele Amoda, chief executive officer, EKEDC, said the essence of the embedded power generation was to avoid rationing of electricity supply to consumers within the network, as well as save the zone from depending on the national grid.

Embedded generation is the term used for any electricity generating plant that is connected to the regional electricity distribution networks. He explained that under the embedded scheme, the energy supply control of the zone would not be subjected to grid manipulation or issue of incessant system collapse.

“We are starting gradually to round up with about 400MW embedded energy supply by next year. Many power companies have indicated interest to partner with us. At the expiration of the ongoing advert, we are going to pick the choice company to partner with. Before drawing up the Private Partnership Agreement, PPA, the zone will inform the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, before rolling out the first embedded electricity generation into the system by July 2014,” he said.

Amoda said that about 35 companies had obtained application forms to partner with EKEDC on the embedded power supply, adding that the company was looking up to 100 companies to key into the scheme. He also said that the company was discussing with some big companies such as Flour Mills, Honeywell, and others who generate more than what they can use on captive power solution.

He identified shortage of gas as another major factor that was militating against regular supply of electricity to the state. Amoda attributed the low shedding of electricity to the 250 MW EKEDC receives as against the expected 700 MW capacity.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu

— May 5, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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