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62.3% Electricity Consumers Still On Estimated Billing ― NERC

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), on Saturday said 62.3 per cent of electricity consumers in the country were still on estimated billing as at December 2019.

The NERC made this known in its Fourth Quarter 2019 Report which was obtained from its website by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The commission said: “Inadequate metering remains a serious challenge in the industry, with only 3,918,322 (37.77 per cent ) of the total customer population of 10,374,597 metered.

“With 62.37 per cent of the end-use customers on estimated billing, huge collection losses due to customer apathy have posed a serious challenge to the viability and sustainability of the industry.”

It said in comparison to the third quarter of 2019, the numbers of registered and metered customers increased by 699,850 (7.23 per cent) and 22,825 (0.59 per cent) respectively.

NERC said the increase in the number of registered customers was attributable to the on-going enumeration exercise by DisCos while the increase in metered customers was due to the roll-out of meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) schemes.

It said: “The commission notes with concern that the additional 22,825 end-use customers’ meters installed during the fourth quarter fell significantly from the 83,768 meters installed during the third quarter.

“This poses risk to the Commission’s goal of closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) by December 31, 2021.

“Although some MAPs have not fully commenced meter deployments, the low metering recorded during the quarter was partly due to the increase of 35 per cent in import duty on meter components.

NERC said it was already working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning toward addressing those issues in order to fast-track meters roll-out.

It said during the period under review, only Abuja, Eko, Enugu, Ikeja, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt DisCos metered additional customers.

According to NERC, the metering status of the DisCos as at December 2019 is: Benin DisCo, 53.71 per cent; Abuja, 52.39 per cent; Eko, 46.67 per cent; Ikeja, 40.38 per cent and Jos, 31.71 per cent.

Others are: Port Harcourt, 38.34 per cent; Ibadan, 32.21 per cent; Kaduna, 22.2 per cent; Kano, 18.36 per cent; Enugu, 41.26 per cent and Yola, 18.75 per cent.

The commission said it would continue to monitor the DisCos to ensure total compliance with the MAP regulations.

The commission also said the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) recorded N119.46 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of 2019.

NERC said the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) only remitted a total of ₦74.20 billion out of the ₦193.66 billion invoice issued to them for energy received and administrative charges during the period.

NERC said liquidity challenge was still a major issue in NESI in spite of the recent improvement in Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

“This is evidenced in the DisCos’ international and special customers’ remittances to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Market Operators (MO) during the fourth quarter of 2019.

“During the fourth quarter, DisCos were issued a total invoice of ₦193.66 billion for energy received from NBET and for administrative services by MO.

“However, only a total of ₦74.20 billion (38.32 per cent) of the invoice was settled as and when due, creating a total deficit of ₦119.46 billion including tariff shortfall,” the regulatory agency said.

NERC said Eko DisCo recorded the highest remittance rate (51.50 per cent) in the fourth quarter of 2019 followed by Abuja with 51.27 per cent remittance rate.

It added that although Jos DisCo’ settlement rate improved during the fourth quarter, its remittance rate of 19.57 per cent was the lowest in the fourth quarter of 2019.

NERC also disclosed that total market invoices were issued to the special customer (Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd) and the international customers (Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (NIGELEC )and Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) during the same period.

According to NERC, N29.50 million was issued to Ajaokuta Steel Company while N2.07 billion was issued to NIGELEC and CEB respectively.

The commission, however, said neither NBET nor MO received payments from these customers during this period.

“Although there has been a significant improvement, the challenge of low remittance to the market is still a concern to the commission as it is one of the main causes of the liquidity crisis facing NESI.

“Low remittance adversely affects the ability of NBET to honour its financial obligations to Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos).

“Also, service providers struggle with the paucity of funds impacting their capacity to perform their statutory obligations,” NERC said.

It, therefore, urged the DisCos to rapidly improve on their revenue collection from customers in order to fulfil their remittance obligations and mitigate financial distress in NESI.

NERC said to enforce payment discipline and compliance with the minimum remittance, it had during the fourth quarter, began enforcement action against DisCos that defaulted in the third quarter billing cycle.

Following the commencement of the enforcement by the Commission, all DisCos except Enugu DisCo have met their expected Minimum Remittance Threshold for the third quarter. (NAN)

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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Nigeria Needs $2.3tn To Address Infrastructure Deficit, Says FG

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the country need $2.3tn to address its national integrated infrastructure masterplan.

He said this in Abuja on Thursday at a town hall meeting themed: ‘Nigeria’s infrastructure revolution: Road to a new future’, organised by Business Hallmark.

According to him, the 23-year masterplan (2020-2043) is for the development of infrastructure including roads, railway network and maritime sector.

The event was chaired by a former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Mustapha said, “Conscious of the economic disruption caused by 2016 recession and COVID-19 as well as challenges of previous reforms, the Federal Government revised the 23 year (2020-2043) national integrated infrastructure masterplan that identified critical enablers.

“For the 23-year period, $2.3tn will be required, translating to about $150bn annually and the private sector and other partners have to provide 56 per cent, while Federal Government and state governments will provide 44 per cent of the share of the investment.

“The Federal Government has made important strides towards providing much of our infrastructure and has, in recent years, conducted several infrastructural reforms.

“Specifically, we are extending and upgrading the nation’s railway network and introducing more locomotive couches. The port sector has been converted to landlocked model and terminal.

“Similarly, Public Private Partnership style infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1tn envisaging to grow over time to N6tn in assets and capital has been established and will soon commence operation.

“It will be one of the premier finance entities in Africa and will be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

“The reduction in Nigeria’s infrastructural gap will also give the country a competitive advantage under the newly signed Africa Free Continental Area Trade Agreement.”

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, deplored the water crises in Nigeria saying no community in the country enjoyed water supply always.

He said, “In 1992, 30 per cent of the Nigerian population was enjoying pipe-borne water and as of 2015, it had dropped to seven per cent.

“In 2015, we were at 68 per cent national coverage for access to water and as of today, we are at 70 per cent and maybe by the time the result for 2021 comes out, we might be at 71 per cent to 72 per cent.

“As for water quality, 90 per cent of water consumed, including water from the boreholes, are contaminated and water is the basic necessity of life.”

Oyegun, in his contribution at the event, said six years going, the performance of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been mixed.

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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