The Federal Government on Monday stated that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had several options at its disposal that it could use to enforce the contract mandating power distribution companies to provide meters for their customers and eliminate estimated billing in the sector.
According to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, one of the options is for NERC to insist that the Discos must recapitalize in order to adequately fund the supply of meters and distribution equipment in their respective franchise areas. Speaking in Abuja on Monday, the Minister stated that he had no issue with the power distributors, but stressed, “I want them to take responsibility of their customers who call me.”
The Federal Government ordered NERC to enforce the contract for the Discos to provide meters and end estimated billing. It said the directive to NERC became inevitable following the number of complaints coming to it for meters, which the Discos should supply, as well as concerns about estimated billing and mass disconnections, adding that the situation would not be allowed to continue.
Providing details as to why the government gave the order, Fashola said, “There are many things that NERC can do and one of the obligations and contracts between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Discos is that certain number of meters will be supplied under the contract; that’s a contractual obligation. And if the contractual obligation inures to my favour, I should be able to go and enforce it”. “There are also statutory and regulatory obligations, which are conditions for the grant of the licenses by NERC to the Discos. Under the terms of their licenses, there are things they are supposed to do, and within the law, there are things that NERC as a regulator can and should do if a licensee is not fulfilling the terms of that license.”
The Minister added, “So, nobody in this system is helpless, whether the BPE or NERC. The BPE is a contracting party, not the Ministry of Power. NERC is a regulatory authority, not the Minister of Power. For example, Sections 73 and 74 (of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005) provide NERC with very clear power to amend the license and withdraw or revoke the license for non-compliance. That is NERC’s job to exercise its powers when it feels that certain things are not done.
“But the exercise to withdraw a license is something that must be done very reluctantly and only as a last resort in the ultimate public interest. There are other things that they (NERC) can do; for example, insist that they (Discos) must recapitalize and fund the supply of meters and distribution equipment to take power to the people
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has drawn a comprehensive strategy of ensuring greater compliance with its Regulations and Orders by operators in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). It noted the imperative for closer monitoring of the performance of its licensees and the ethical conduct of the respective managements which according to it, is in line with best practice in a regulated utility market.
The Commission further reviewed the progress of customer enumeration exercise (including asset tagging) by the electricity distribution companies and reaffirmed its determination to ensure this is completed within the stipulated timelines in the Work Plan. This is on account of the significant benefits towards the reduction of commercial and collection losses in the industry.
Other areas of focus for the management of the Commission included the urgency to invest in resolving bottlenecks at transmission/distribution interface points and an expedited resolution of customer complaints. It reaffirmed its commitment to provide a fair and firm regulatory environment but with a warning that necessary enforcement measures would be pursued on defaulters in the industry.
Representatives of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) led by Engr, Oyedele Ifeoluwa, Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services,along with Rockson Engineering Limited and SEWA West Africa Limited visited the Onne Port in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State recently to inspect equipment shipped for the Combine Cycle of NIPP Alaoji Power Plant and Transmission Projects materials for Owerri 330/132/33kV Substation Project.
The purpose of the visit according to Engr. Oyedele was to physically ascertain that the Heat Turbine Boilers (HRSG) and other equipment procured by Rockson Engineering Limited, (the Contractor handling Alaoji Power Plant project) were actually on ground as claimed. These equipment were procured from AC BOILERS An Indian Company in China. After the inspection, the team also visited the Alaoji Power Plant in Abia State to inspect the site where the Combine Cycle equipment were going to be kept. At the site at Alaoji Power Plant, the team realized that the contractor still had some work to do before moving the materials to site. According to them, the Contractor needs to work on the access road to the site and remove some old containers on the site to create more space for the erection of the basement where the equipment will be placed by TREVIS FOUNDATION.
On their part, Rockson Engineering Limited requested NDPHC to renew its Letter of Credit and pay up their outstanding invoices to enable them move the shipped equipment to site. According to them, these equipment have been at the Onne Port since October 2017 due to lack of funds
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday revealed that the Federal Government has concluded plans to decentralise the power generating and distribution in the Country, saying this will improve availability of power supply and attract foreign investors.
The Vice President who spoke at a town hall meeting with youths, held at the University Teaching Hospital (UCH) Ibadan said he was in Ibadan to ensure fixing of solar power in Gbagi market, just as he had done in other parts of the Country.He said: “One of the reasons I am here in Ibadan is to have off-grid power generation and distribution in Gbagi market. We want to embark on solar power generation in the entire Gbagi market and we are going to have that in all the markets across Nigeria.
“For those of you who are following our activities, you will know that we have done it in Sabon Gari in Kano state and in some markets in the East and in Ondo state too. We are doing this not to rely on the traditional sources of power generation again.
“We also have something we called Eligible Customer Declaration (ECD) which means that industrial areas and big estates can have their own power without relying on the traditional grid. So there are companies that we are licensing to buy power and sell to their customers. This country is too big to have the same power source for the whole country and that is why we are trying to decentralize the sources of power generation. “Then, we will be able to supply what is left for residential areas that require power in the country. We have a systematic approach to solving power generation in the country’’.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency,(NEMSA) and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Peter Ewesor, has urged power users not to accept meters that come without the Agency’s seal, noting that such meters without the Agency’s seal are not certified, hence are fake.
He made the disclosure in an interview recently in Abuja, saying “One important thing you need to know is that the only assurance and guarantee that your meter is the right type, that what the manufacturer produced is correct and that the power you receive and use is what you are paying for is the seal of NEMSA on the meter”. “It is the seal that will show you that the meter has passed through the National Meter Test Station of NEMSA, where it is expected to be routine-tested to be sure that the quality of the meter that was approved for the manufacturer and supplier is what was installed for the customer. So when the seal is not there, what you need to do is to report to NEMSA so that we can find out what type of meter was installed for you. This is because we can still carry out what we call on-site test on the meter to find out whether it meets the required accuracy, technical standards and specification in line with the metering code of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission”, Ewesor said.
Ewesor used the opportunity and called on electricity customers to inform the Agency about any meter without the Agency’s certification. According to him, “the code guides the manufacturing, supply, deployment and installation of meters in the power sector”. Stressing that any meter without NEMSA’s seal is fake because what that means is that you, as a manufacturer, brought in meters to be used and the meters did not pass through the required route and channel. The route and channel is that once a meter is to be used in Nigeria, it must have what we call the type-test certification, which indicates that the meter has been tested and it has been localized and can meet all our environmental conditions and specifications.
When you are now buying in a large quantity for deployment, we carry out what is called routine test, which is for us to check out if the meter meets the quality that has been approved for the country, and in that process we are able to establish the accuracy of the meter’’.
Determined to improve and upgrade power supply to Ogun State and its environs, the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), has disclosed that four new 330KVA stations will be built in Ogijo, Ibafo, Arigbajo and Agbara areas of the State.
Managing Director/CEO of TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday at the official inauguration of the new 60MVA, 132/33KV transformer at Ijebu-Ode Sub-Station.
Mohammed, who identified Ogun State as one of the industrialized locations in the Country, explained that the newly-commissioned transformer at Ijebu Ode would not only increase the 48 megawatts-power wheeling capacity of the substation to 96 megawatts, but reduce the load shedding being experienced within Ijebuland and environs.
Mohammed further said the energisation of the project would enable the TCN to separate the Epe 33KV feeder from the Ijebu Igbo 33KV feeder.
While noting that TCN had expanded the national grid by 20 megawatts in two years, Mohammed added that 22 60MVA 132/33KV transformers had been installed in critical locations across the country. He said, “TCN has been able to install this kind of transformers in 22 locations in Nigeria. In two years, we have been able to expand the national grid by 20 megawatts. We want to ensure that if generation is 7,000, transmission will be 14,000 and distribution will be 28,000.
“Similarly, TCN is working to ensure we complete other lines that bring power to Ogun and Lagos States. All these undertakings are to improve power supply to this State and its environs.
“TCN is also considering dropping of 330 KVA in Ijebu Ode or reconstruction of Sagamu-Ijebu Ode power line, to increase power supply. But this will depend on the cheaper of the two”. Mohammed stated.
The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), has successfully concluded the Association of Power Utilities in Africa (APUA) sponsored training for over two hundred staff of Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DisCos). Among participants in the programme, Ibadan DisCos had 80, Ikeja DisCo had 51, Eko DisCo had 51 while Kaduna DisCo had 19 participants from its Kano franchise area.
Presenting certificates to the Management of the Distribution Companies, the Ag. Director General of the Institute, Ahmed Bolaji Nagode commended the efforts of the Utility Companies in ensuring maximum success of the training. Adding that, the observations raised at the training were duly noted, saying that this stakeholders’ engagement was meant to provide opportunities for feedback with the aim of serving the Utility Companies better.
Representatives of the Management of the Distribution Companies on their part, commended NAPTIN for displaying professionalism and high standard in training programme
The World Bank has disclosed that Nigeria will get $350 million from the $2.1 billion it recently approved for it, to push through its electrification programme expected to provide electricity for 2.5 million people and 70,000 micro, small and medium enterprises. The $2.1 billion concessionary loan is expected to support the funding of seven projects in key sectors in Nigeria, and the $350 million from it, used to further solar power projects in schools, hospital and small and medium scale enterprises the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has initiated.
The Bank, in a statement obtained in Abuja, listed the seven projects that will benefit from the $2.1 billion funding support to include nutrition, access to electricity, states’ fiscal transparency, polio eradication, women’s economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion.
It quoted its Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, to have stated that Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) had identified human capital investment, restoring growth, and building a competitive economy as its key pillars.
According to it, in the power sector, the Nigeria electrification project would leverage private sector investments in solar mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems to provide electricity to 2.5 million people and 70,000 micro, small and medium enterprises. It explained that the project would also provide publicly-funded reliable electricity to seven universities and two teaching hospitals. “Besides, the project would support the development of a sustainable framework for expanding electricity access in Nigeria over the long term, with $350 million financed through an IDA credit made available for it,” said the Bank in the statement.
The REA had initiated projects called Energizing Education Programme (EEP) and Energizing Economy Programme (EEP), wherein it planned to provide electricity to selected public universities, teaching hospitals and markets using mostly clean solar power sources.
Two agro-based communities in Shendam local district of Nigeria’s North-Central State of Plateau, namely Angwan Rina and Demshin, have been connected to clean electricity sourced from a solar photovoltaic (PV) mini grid, built by the European Union (EU), Germany and indigenous renewable energy firm, Green Village Electricity (GVE) Project Limited. The solar mini grid was completed and activated at the weekend in the two communities by the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.
Both have the collective capacity to generate 100 kilowatts (kW) of clean electricity to power the communities which had been without electricity from the national grid. With the completion and commissioning of the projects, up to 2500 people are expected to have access to the clean sustainable energy from the mini grid.
The Managing Director of GVE, Ifeanyi Orajaka, disclosed that the two solar mini grids, of 50kW capacity each, were constructed at the cost of €681,000 which when calculated with the exchange rate of N356.67 to one euro from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) amounted to N242, 892,270. Adding that the project was done under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), and jointly financed by the European Union and the government of Germany, with 61 per cent of the cost provided by public sector partners, while the balance of 39 per cent was provided by GVE.
Orajaka said both communities are predominantly engaged in agriculture, as such, the electricity from the mini grid solar system would be used to process produce from their farms. “We are planning to very shortly increase the capacity of the system to 100kW each because this place is well known for its agro-based prowess. We anticipate some increase in demands because this will most likely lead to urban-rural migration as against rural-urban migration. Businesses and agricultural processing firms can now come here because there is stable electricity from this system. Community people will also enjoy stable power from the solar plant to power their homes and run their businesses.”
Explaining further, he said that the systems were built with smart metering facilities with which the community members would pay as they use the electricity they generate. “We have very smart prepaid meters installed up the poles, which run on a pay-as-you-go technology, meaning that the communities will use power on a pay-as-you-go basis,” Orajaka stated.
According to the projects partners, the Angwan-Rina and Demshin solar mini-grid projects are among six mini grid projects implemented under the NESP, and will provide electricity to over 10,000 people across five states of Ogun, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Cross-River.
In November 2010, in a tribute to Stephen J. Solarz, a former nine-term New York congressman, Douglas Martin wrote that he was a “torrent of activity” supporting it with a statement issued by the late lawmaker’s office that “during his first six months in Congress, he made 12 speeches on the House floor, co-sponsored 370 bills, held 11 news conferences, made 24 trips to his district and attended 99 events there, visited 23 subway stations, sent constituents 513,720 pieces of mail and took an 18-day tour of the Middle East.”
In October 2015, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, was honoured amongst seven distinguished personalities with an award named for Stephen J Solarz by the International Crisis Group (ICG). From his eight-year tenure as the Governor of Lagos State to his two-year-plus as Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, our own BRF has, as the global conflict-prevention organisation acknowledged in conferring the honour on him, been a “relentless fighter for the improvement of people's lives...”
Barely a month after the global recognition of BRF’s “commitment to resolving social, economic and security challenges in one of the world’s most challenging urban environments”, President Muhammadu Buhari tapped him to join him in tackling the nation’s multifarious infrastructural challenges. Ever since, the three-in-one Ministry has witnessed a “torrent of activity” towards making life more meaningful for Nigerians of all strata.
Has he lived up to the recognition of the ICG and the confidence reposed in him by President Buhari to deliver? His 55th birthday on 28 June affords us the opportunity to not only answer that question but also look at The Essential BRF.
For BRF, results rather than excuses should count towards measuring a leader’s gravitas. So, not for him any argument which suggests that, comparing an executive position with an appointive capacity within a complex federation such as Nigeria is like comparing apples with oranges. Not even if you illustrate with the now-common fiasco over the national budget as an example of a barrier to effective delivery of much-expected services to the people.
Any unbiased but informed observer would not hesitate to proffer that, within those constraints, and with the unwavering support from his principal, the Minister has demonstrated unflinching commitment to reducing Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit to the barest minimum, one project at a time, across Nigeria’s 36 states.
One thing you can’t take away from BRF is his penchant for, to use a favourite word of his, dimensioning any problem, no matter how seemingly gargantuan. He is the master of drilling down. His staff at the Ministry will attest to how, from the day of his inauguration, he has been engaging everyone in marathon consultations, sometimes into the night, to be able to put every problem in proper perspective and then ensuring that the job gets done - without any short-cut.
A DEVELOPMENT MATRIX:
For him, nothing should be done superficially. Let’s take work on roads. He starts with the premise that good roads will help reflate and grow the nation’s economy, reduce travel time, cost of transportation of goods and services, and create jobs which will provide the economic means for the worker to live meaningfully. To achieve this, in the short term, would mean starting with roads which can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. This should further be guided by choosing first the roads which connect states together and bear the heaviest traffic such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and working the way across Nigeria gradually. By sticking religiously to, and developing this plan, enunciated with his team in the Ministry with necessary policy and budgetary support from the Cabinet led by the President and National Assembly, albeit, with all the “constituency complications,” Fashola has been delivering on his mandate.
On Power, Fashola believes that predictable supply achieved through incremental, stable, and, ultimately, uninterrupted supply of electricity, availability will be a critical and defining component of our economic renaissance, job creation, GDP growth and reduction of income inequalities. This has formed the basis of the Federal Government’s Roadmap to Power with the accompanying policies and plans like the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) aimed at strengthening the responsibility of the Ministry as a regulator through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), so that the GenCos and DisCos can be held to their contracts with citizens; getting the support needed to complete stalled power projects in the generation, transmission and distribution value chains; and improving the liquidity in the sector.
Coming with a practical experience from Lagos, Fashola believes the construction of houses will complement the economic growth drive by direct and indirect jobs in the housing value chain from construction companies, to artisans, labourers, vendors and many more. The Federal Government’s housing project is currently going on in 34 States of the Federation which have provided the required suitable land for the programme, currently at its pilot stage and poised to address the issues of affordability, acceptability and climatic/cultural diversities which have been the bane of the previous housing programmes.
What used to be the standard question about how one man can cope with the leadership of three Ministries comes less frequently in its monotony now because Fashola has continually demonstrated that tackling challenges is his second nature. Never mind that he has had to sleep less than the averagely-required hours and do unusual things - for instance in 2017 during an inspection of projects in the North East, he led the team to drive on the road by the dreaded Sambisa Forest in the thick of the night - whilst greying graciously but achieving results. By the way, Hamza Idris of the Daily Trust, who was on the trip, had asked him what gave him the courage to travel at that time, he answered as only a BRF would: “Well, I don’t think it is courage. I have a job to do and it has to be done well. If you are building and managing roads, you can’t manage them from slides, you can’t manage them remotely. You must at least see how good or bad those roads are. It gives a sense, either of urgency, enthusiasm, or a combination of both, to be able to really deal with it. The Ministry of Defence is aware that we are here, but the security arrangement is just precautionary. We have seen ordinary Nigerians travelling in their buses. I have seen the Taraba Mass Transit Services, Adamawa Express, Bauchi Express and others. So, life is going on and we just have a job to do.”
There is no better way to end this birthday tribute to this quintessential man who is extremely loyal to his principal, political party and his principles, than quoting his answer to another question on that North East inspection trip “I am never satisfied with anything I am involved in; I just keep going. It’s difficult to satisfy me, and if you ask me to assess myself, I would continue to push myself.”
FASHOLA INSPECTS ONGOING CONSTRUCTION WORK ON NNAMDI AZIKIWE MAUSOLEUM LIBRARY COMPLEX IN ONITSHA ANAMBRA STATE ON DAY THREE OF TOUR OF THE SOUTH EAST ZONE
HonMinister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SANleft and Governor of Anambra StateMr Willie Obianoright speaking with journalists shortly after a courtesy visit to the Government Houseduring the Hon Ministersinspection tour of the ongoing construction work ontheMausoleum Library Complexin Honour of Late Rt Hon Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in Onitsha Anambra State and the 2nd Niger Bridge on Day Three of the HonMinisters inspection tour of Federal Government Infrastructure Projects in the South East Zone of the country on Thursday 19th May 2018
FASHOLA HASSAN HOST PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF THE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN right Permanent Secretary PowerEngr Louis Edozien2nd left President Manufacturers Association of NigeriaMAN Dr Frank Jacobs 2nd right and Vice President MAN Engr Ibrahim Usmanleft in a group photograph shortly after a courtesy visit to the Hon Ministers to discuss issues relating to Infrastructure and Made in Nigeria products at the Ministry of Power Works Housing Headquarters Mabushi Abuja on Monday 25th September 2017