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2021 Budget: NERC proposes N2b for furniture, others



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By Tony Akowe, Abuja

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), on Wednesday told the House of Representatives Committee on Power that  it needs N2 billion to partition  and furnish its headquarters  in Abuja.

The power sector regulator has also placed a ceiling on what the DISCOs can charge customers on estimated billing module.

Speaking when he appeared before the Committee to defend it’s 2021 Budget estimates, Chairman of the Commission, Prof. James Momoh said the partitioning and furnishing of the eight floors building became necessary to make it a befitting and habitable place after it was acquired, saying that work on the eight story building was still ongoing.

He said the Commission was unable to spend all the money released to it for the project in the 2020 budget because of the COVID 19 pandemic.

On metering of electricity consumers,  Momoh said the era has come when consumers will only pay for what they consume, while also working to conserve energy.

He said: “We have had a lot of discussion in the last couple of months. I have been in the meeting with the labour unions and the government side on options that are necessary and to make us respond to where there are lacuna, or gaps especially in the metering.

“The one million number type roll plan between now and the first quarter of 2021 is on course. We have the time table. We have identified what is to be given to each of the Discos for their customers. It means that the meters that will be rolled out are already completed and guaranteed.

“We call it phase zero option. In that phase zero, customers are going to receive meters from each of their franchizing Disco company. Phase One and Two will be when we roll out six million, may be, by 2022, we would have rolled out.”

Momoh said consumers will receive all these meters: Single Phase in their homes. But somebody is going to pay for it. Government is going to give loan to make sure that Discos will have access to these meters through local manufacturering. Obviously, it is a good one to create jobs for our people.

“And of course, NERC’s role is well defined. We are monitoring. We will evaluate and make sure that proper roll out plan is in place to meet the standards and specifications on which the metering codes are approved.

“I think we are in the right time in the country when you can always say to each other that the era of estimated billing is gone and customers will pay for the power they use and they will be able to manage the power so that they won’t pay excess and won’t be wasting energy as well.

“But the most important thing we have accomplished is that for the first time in Nigeria, we have created, under my watch, what I will call a new paradigm shift that the customer only pays for the quality and availability of power they use and the customer can reduce consumption.

“I think it is a good thing. It will also lead to industrialisation of our country and investment in the electricity sector will now be easy,” he said.

The Nation

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