DISCOs are frustrating FG’s effort on metering – NERC

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…As AMCON collaborates to recover N740b***

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has reprimanded the Electricity Distribution Company, DISCOs, over its lukewarm attitude towards providing meters to customers.

The regulator bared its mind at a workshop on the implementation of the Meter Asset Provider, MAP regulation, in Lagos.

Speaking,NERC Chairman, Prof. James Momoh said the DISCOs are yet to make good use of the opportunities and procurement of MAP scheme.

“Since the procurement of MAP on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, none of the DISCOs has taken it up, and that is not good for the system. Currently, the metering gap of Jos, Ikeja Electric, IBEDC, Kaduna DISCOs are 500,000; 323,779; 988,785 and 396,524” Momoh noted.

The NERC boss explained that the DISCOs are also low in their disclosure and transparency, calling for full cooperation with the auditors, to agree on bankable securitization arrangement, proper planning and clear meter deployment strategy and greater transparency. Momoh, stated that the commission was assiduously working hard to ensure that all Nigerians are metered before the end of 2020.

“I think, before 2020 all Nigerian home will be metered. Let us work with the DISCOs and MAP providers. However, there would be sanctions but not at the moment as we are working on a timeline given to DISCOs metering their customers.

“There are already classes of government subsidy to make sure that the actual cost of electricity is subsidized. Not only subsidy but there are new technologies that are cheaper and been encouraged by the government for the rural areas, which are mini-grid, etc. This business model would allow small business producers to have access to power and cheaper.

Indeed we are not in that age where we say electricity is for social study, but it’s an economic business (power in- power out) and not free money” Momoh said. On the clamour to review tariff, Momoh, explained that structures are put in place to review the tariff, saying, “The tariff change depends on many factors in terms of enumeration process ongoing of the customers and making sure that people are metered so we won’t be charging people for what is not consumed.

They are also depending on the GPD of the country, and as the population is growing other structures are factored into it. “All those factors are been put together in order to determine cost reflective tariff. So far it is customers based tariff. There is a timeline. Before the end of the year, we would have done the minor review of the tariff which is the first. The major is done after every five years. We are discussing and reviewing a lot of indices needed to aid a favourable tariff review.”

According to Momoh, “As assets with a technically useful life of 10-15 years, the regulation provides for the third-party financing of meters, under a permit issued by the Commission, and amortisation over a period of 10 years.

“The DISCOs, in line with their licensing terms and conditions, are obliged to achieve their metering targets as set by the Commission under the new regulation. The contracting of MAP shall be through an open, transparent and competitive bid process thus ensuring that meters are provided at a least cost to electricity customers.”

In the meantime, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru, has  promised to support AMCON’s Asset Management Partners (AMPs) in its bid to recover its outstanding cash.

Specifically, it is seeking the recovery of 20 per cent or N740 billion of the total Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) of AMCON portfolio of N3.7trillion in the hands of obligors.

Kuru spoke in Lagos at the 2018 edition of the AMCON/AMPs Feedback session, which ended yesterday. AMPs are firms AMCON engaged in 2016 to complement its recovery efforts as part of its renewed strategy to resolve some 6,000 accounts within its portfolio of accounts.

The AMCON chief, who was represented at the event by the Group Head, Enforcements, at AMCON, Aliyu Kalgo,  said the Corporation placed equal importance on the ability of the partners to recover the outsourced accounts because their efforts count towards the achievement of AMCON’s core mandate.

He urged the APMs to discharge their assignments within the defined rules of engagement as stipulated by the AMCON Act and as seasoned professionals.

Kuru said: “It is a well-known fact that AMCON has a unique and limited mandate; therefore, AMCON must maximise every opportunity to state its cases with the highest quality of representation, which was why we came up with the AMP programme that have been of tremendous development in our efforts to recover debts owed the country by a few individuals who have over the years remained recalcitrant. We are very grateful for all the AMPs who work with us towards achieving our recovery mandate. We are mindful of the enormous responsibility placed on your in this regard.”

On the plans of AMCON to ensure that AMPs experience a hitch-free recovery processes, he said: “We will continue to emphasise the need for more diligence even as we continue to partner with you. In the future, we will enlist AMPs who have made significant recoveries as part of the facilitators for similar events so that they will share some insights and critical success factors with us as well as their colleagues. If the recovery process was easy and straight forward we would not have engaged you in the first instance. We therefore recognise the fact that it is a challenging assignment and that is why we selected you. We promise to be with you all through the hardship and together we shall succeed.”

Also addressing the participants, Mr. Chuka Agbu SAN urged the AMPs to explore and apply the special powers as provided by the AMCON Act in their pursuit of these recalcitrant debtors of the corporation. The lawyer further advised the AMPs to leverage the major provisions of the AMCON Act such as bankruptcy, receivership, asset tracing amongst others in their quest to track down the obligors and eventually compel them to repay their obligations.

Vanguard with additional report from The Nation