THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has ordered the electricity distribution companies nationwide to stop collecting fixed charges from consumers who do not get power supply for 15 days, starting from May 1. The NERC said it had resolved that consumers who did not receive supply for more than 15 days either cumulatively or continuously would not pay the fixed charge for that month.
Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, gave the directive while addressing journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, April 30. He explained that the directive would take effect if it was due to equipment failure, including transformer breakdown, but would not be applicable if the outage was due to disconnection, non-payment of bills, or any issue caused by the consumer.
“While the commission has determined that the fixed charge remains an essential component of the bill, it has, however, reviewed the continued retention of the fixed charge component in the tariff and payment of fixed charge in the light of consumer complaints, particularly with regard to continued payment of fixed charge even when the energy is not delivered to the consumer. Upon due consideration of these complaints by the consumers, and considering the role of NERC in the Nigerian electricity supply industry; the commission, as provided under Section 32 (d) and 32 (f) of the EPSR Act, 2005, hereby orders that effective May 1, 2014, where any customer of a distribution licensee has not received electricity supply for a period of 15 days in a month, such a customer shall not be required to pay the fixed charge,” he said.
Amadi said there had been several complaints from consumers over the fairness or legality of the monthly fixed charges. This, he said, prompted the commission to embark on an independent investigation that led to the directive that the Discos should halt the fixed charges after 15 days of no power supply. “There have been a lot of comments from consumers about the fixed charge and the concern is whether it is fair and legal.”
According to him, the fixed charge was a universal practice and a key element in electricity, but that did not mean it would not change in any tariff year. The NERC boss explained that the fixed charge might change from one tariff year to another, but would not change irrespective of what a customer consumed. Amadi said while the energy charge covered actual cost of energy consumed, the fixed charge covered investments made in permanent power equipment such as poles, cables and transformers as well as their maintenance cost and the capacity charge paid to the generating companies.
Kudos to Nigerian Engineers at Egbin
THE House of Representatives committee on commercialization and privatization has commended the Nigerian engineers at Egbin Power Plc for their ingenuity in keeping the plant functional despite challenges in its operations.Khadija Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, chairman of the committee, made the commendation when the committee visited the Egbin Electricity Power Plc in continuation of its oversight visit to new owners of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, successor companies in Lagos.
Abba-Ibrahim noted that despite the obsolete equipment and poor funding, the Nigerian engineers were able to operate the plants to give maximum services to Nigerians before and after privatization. She said that the committee would engage other members of the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, so that the current challenges in gas supply to power companies was overcome to ensure steady power supply in the country.
The chairman noted that government had, in the past, invested heavily to ensure efficient and adequate power supply in the country and that the committee would not relent until the objective was achieved. She acknowledged the teething problems the new owners were facing but expressed the hope that these would be overcome with time as it was typical of new businesses.
Earlier, Mike Uzoigwe, managing director, Egbin Electricity Power Plc., informed the lawmakers that the new investors had invested over N7.3 billion from November 1, 2013 to date in turning around the company. He said to further revamp the company; the investors had earmarked another $4million for a total overhaul of the plant.
Uzoigwe explained that since the takeover in November 2013, the company had embarked on major improvements which included: repair of unit 4, numbers 5 and 6 HP Heaters, replacement of water cooling inlet line fittings, repair of 3 boiler water wall tube rupture, replacement of lighting bulbs inside the power plant and a scheduled major overhaul of all units from 2014 to 2016, among others. The MD gave a breakdown of the overhaul schedule as follows: Unit 1: March, 2015, Unit 2: October, 2015, Unit 3: July, 2015, Unit 4: October, 2014, Unit 5: January, 2016; and Unit 6: April 2016.
Despite the efforts to give the company a facelift, the MD decried the low remittance to the company from the market operators and urged the lawmakers to urgently intervene to make the electricity market attractive for investment. He decried the situation where out of what was due to the company to date was N13bn but only N6.5bn was received, and that out of what was received, the company was owing the Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, N5.3bn while it had spent N7.35bn on staff salaries and renovations.
Uzoigwe also called on the lawmakers to intervene to ensure that the entitlements of the former workers of the PHCN were fully paid as all remittances to that effect were understood to have been made to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation by the relevant government agencies.
Power Breezer Launch
BREEZER Holdings, a USA-based company, will launch the Power Breezer at the offshore technology conference from May 5 to 8, in Houston, Texas, USA. In a press statement release, the company said it that when the thermometer hits 100 degrees, protecting crews from heat exhaustion and heat related illness becomes a priority.
Proactive companies in the oil and gas industry are looking to prevent heat related illnesses before their onset and to maintain safe and healthy work conditions for their crew. Power Breezer, an all-weather mobile outdoor cooling unit, is the solution to manage hot temperatures in outdoor environments.
The Power Breezer has been designed to meet military specs and is NOM certified, ETL certified for US and Canada, UL507 compliant and OSHA compliant. This rugged unit, which can cool down a 3,000 sq. foot area by up to 27 degrees, is extremely energy efficient (uses the same electricity as a blow dryer) and is made with durable, anti-corrosive parts.
The Power Breezer is currently being used by the U.S. Military to keep troops comfortable and functioning outdoors in some of the harshest environments in the world. Since its introduction two years ago, the Power Breezer can be found cooling construction sites, reception halls, ball parks and football stadiums as well as hard to cool warehouses and manufacturing facilities in ten countries.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— May 12, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT