The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that it has made proposals to the National Assembly on how to prevent the accumulation of future electricity debts by government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs).
This is even as the NERC chairman, Dr Sam Amadi, disclosed that the commission has discounted electricity bills owed by MDAs from distribution companies (DISCOs) collection losses in the new tariff following some payment commitment.
Speaking during a workshop in Abuja, Amadi explained that the DISCOs have computed and submitted what they are owed by the various MDAs, adding that verification would be done on the figures following which payment plans would be agreed upon with the DISCOs.
Consequently, he said the commission had to expunge collection losses from the new tariff following the commitment to pay the accumulated bills and proposals to prevent future ones. To prevent future debts, however, Amadi said that the NERC has proposed a strategy to the National Assembly to adopt the earmark strategy practised in the United States which stipulates that each MDA’s budget have clear earmarks for paying electricity bills with conditions that the money cannot be used for anything else.
He stressed that should such funds marked clearly as electricity bill payment be diverted to other purpose by any MDA that agency would have run foul of the law. The NERC boss also added that the National Assembly can also, as part of its oversight function, demand for the certificate of compliance to be sure that MDAs have paid their electricity bills. Amadi expressed confidence that these measures, if adopted and implemented by the National Assembly, is capable of reversing the age long trend where government agencies owe electricity bills running into huge sums of money.
Meanwhile, Kaduna Electric has said that it will, from next week, begin the deployment of hi-tech smart energy meters for electricity users within its franchise area as part of plans to ensure the metering of all customers and gradually phase out estimated billing as required by the NERC. The company’s head, Energy Meters and New Connections, Mr Aliyu Abbas Abdullahi, disclosed this at the opening session of a five-day training programme jointly organised by the company and Elsewedy Electric of Egypt for metering engineers and installers in Kaduna.
Abdullahi announced that the first consignment of about 100,000 meters ordered by Kaduna Electric has arrived the country, hence the training to properly equip the company’s meter engineers and installers with the necessary and requisite knowledge on the installation, maintenance, and operations of the meters.
He explained that “the smart meters are equipped with globally accepted standard that enable them to work with any energy metering hard and soft ware.”
He appealed to customers in the franchise area, who shall be the beneficiaries of the new meters, to support the company by taking proper care of the meters when installed, noting that the meters has undergone painstaking quality assurance tests both in Egypt and Nigeria.
In his remarks at the event, an engineer with Elsewedy Electric, Mr Mina Samir Istafanous, revealed that the meters are of high quality standard that can work with any energy metering configuration. He disclosed that some of the features of the meters to includes STS standard, AMR capability, 12 months memory/data storage capability, ability to change maximum and minimum power limit, among others.
The firm further assured Kaduna Electric and its customers of the reliability, durability, and ruggedness of the meters.