• Friday, March 01, 2024
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NERC to meet Senate over fixed charges soon – Amadi

Dr Sam Amadi
  • DACCIMA wants review of sector over poor service

Dr Sam AmadiNigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says it will meet the Senate soon to inform it why fixed charges cannot be abolished now.
Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria, yesterday in Lagos.

According to Amadi, there is communication gap, which needs to be filled on the electricity fixed charges.

“This is because it was the same National Assembly that legislated on the fixed charges which was embedded in the Power Reform Act.

“`There is the need to visit the Senate to explain reasons why fixed charges cannot be totally abolished because it’s the responsibility of NERC to implement it.

“We believe that fixed charges are regulated, we share their concern as legislators who represent the people at their various constituencies,’’ he said.

Amadi said NERC would discuss with the Senate to have better insight on the fixed charges, which was regulated, saying the legislators had the right to make a resolution on fixed charges but they should be well informed about it.

The NERC chairman said there was need to encourage investors who had invested so much in the sector to recover their funds.

Meanwhile, Simon Asite, president, Delta Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (DACCIMA), has urged the Federal Government to evolve a better framework that would guarantee stable electricity supply.

Asite said Thursday in Warri that the epileptic power situation in the country was crippling businesses in the organised private sector.

The DACCIMA, president, who was also the president, Warri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, said many businesses were collapsing because of high cost of operation.

He said stable electricity was vital to the development of any economy, noting that most developed countries relied on cottage businesses to drive their economy.

The DACCIMA president said the NERC had to do more in terms of policies that would protect the interest of the organised private sector.

According to him, the commission was only formulating policies that favoured the buyers of the power sector.

”If government wants to achieve export-oriented economy to improve the standard of living of the people, it must be steadfast in the provision of power.

”So there should be an overview of the power sector and that will lead to a better framework in favour of the entrepreneurs,” he said.

The Senate on August 11, directed the NERC to abolish the monthly fixed charges collected by distribution companies (DISCOs) from consumers.

It also directed NERC to ask the DISCOs to discontinue the practice of compulsory bulk metering of villages and rural communities.

The resolution followed a motion titled “Unfair Trade Practices of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria,’’ sponsored by Sam Egwu and David Umaru of Niger East Senatorial District.

The Senate accused the DISCOs of conspiracy to rip off innocent customers in spite of epileptic power supply to homes and business premises.

It urged NERC to inquire into the numerous complaints before it in line with the provisions of Section 74 (1) (b) of the Power Reform Act.

Fixed charges have been in existence since 2003 when the Federal Government introduced prepaid meters.

The fixed charges are the component of the electricity bill from which the DISCOs replace damaged or faulty distribution facilities – transformers, cables, feeders and so on, without bothering the consumer.

Initially, the fixed charge for prepaid meters increased from N225 to N500 and presently stands at N750.

There has been an outcry since the increase, prompting NERC, an independent regulatory agency to appeal for understanding.