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FG plans installation of 4 million meters to improve electricity market

By Onu Okorie

Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC
Engr. Sanusi Garba has said that the phase one of the National Mass Metering Programme NMMP of the federal government which envisages the installation of four million meters, will start as soon as the procurement process is
concluded.
He made this submission at a one-day workshop in Abuja yesterday for media organised by the Commission in collaboration with the Power Sector Recovery Operation PSRO Secretariat.

According to him, one of the policy interventions of the Federal Government is the
NMMP with the hope that it will help to rejuvenate the sector and instil public confidence in it.

Garba who insisted that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring an efficient electric power
supply industry that will guarantee Nigerians adequate, reliable and affordable electricity also revealed that about one million meters were
installed at Phase zero of the NMMP.
According to him, “notwithstanding the electric power supply industry is now private sector driven,
its relevance to economic growth and industrial development will require strategic
government interventions. At this developmental stage, the industry’s challenges
require that hands be on the deck to achieve an efficient and effective electric
power supply industry that we desire for our economic development,”

He further explained the objectives of PSRP is to include the power sector’s financial viability,
improve electricity supply reliability to meet the growing demand, strengthen the sector’s institutional framework, implement policies that promote and encourage
investors’ confidence, and institutionalise a contract-based electricity industry.

Garba noted that the
Federal Government initiated the PSRP with the support of the World Bank to achieve the goal of Nigerians having access to adequate, reliable and affordable
electricity in Nigeria.

“In addition, Distribution Companies have submitted Performance Improvement Plans to NERC which commits them to certain minimum service delivery levels and progressive improvement in service quality and standards”. He stated

The event witnessed a presentation on the PSRP, which outlined the programme objectives, plans, and the milestones achieved so far in its implementation.

Speaking during the occasion Engr Belije Madu of the PSRP Secretariat
said that the continued improvement in the Nigerian power sector performance will be central to unlocking increased economic growth, particularly in the non-oil sectors of manufacturing and services.

According to him, “an improved power sector will increase investor confidence in the Nigerian economy.Ensuring access to reliable electricity supply is important for poverty alleviation.
Nigeria’s power sector is unbundled and largely privately-owned.”

He aluded to the the fact that the transition from a publicly-owned to largely privately-owned power sector, has not delivered the the expected outcomes and the sector is under pressure to preform.

Shedding more light on the plan of government, Madu said that the
PSRP Finance/Technical Committee was constituted in March 2021.
According to him, “PSRP is a programme which aims to improve power supply, restore financial viability and enhance accountability of Nigeria’s power sector through the following measures:Service delivery and reducing losses on the basis of approval and enforcement of Discos’ Performance Improvement Plans.Improved Financial performance on the basis of clearing historical and recurrent tariff shortfalls from Discos’ books.Implementation of a fiscally transparent Financing Plan to cover sector shortfalls during the transition to cost recovery.”

He noted that the PSRP has six objectives, namely: Distribution companies will implement approved plans to improve performance. PIPs will remove distribution limitations, improve operational performance and ensure tighter regulation of the Discos. Each year, NERC will monitor and enforce the outputs in the Discos’ PIPs.Implement arrangements to ensure Discos continue operating and rendering service to Nigerians. In the event any Disco has issues, PSP will ensure the Disco continue operating. The plans will also ensure that qualified specialists are hired to temporarily oversee the Disco operations. Electricity pricing is adjusted consistent with the PSRP Financing Plan, including measures which protect the poor. There will be adjustments in the electricity pricing in a socially sustainable manner, with the pricing made to ensure affordability for poorer households and unmetered home consumers connected to the grid.

He also revealed that the in the six PSRP objectives Discos are mandated to keep their payment obligations. The PSRP supports Discos to meet their payment obligations to NBET and TCN.Financial and operational transparency of Discos is improved. The PSRP supports the strengthening of the financial and operational transparency and accountability of Discos through the publication of key information.

“There will be periodic publication of audited financial statements of the Discos and of key operational and financial data of the power sector.Stakeholder and citizen engagement and communication is improved. The PSRP supports the design of a public communication campaign and stakeholder engagement to raise awareness about the PSRP, generate larger acceptance and buy-ins and obtain stakeholder feedback.” He stated.

Significant part of the event is the launch of the PSRP website,
where the public, including the media, can get the latest update on the progress.

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