The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has concluded plans to put limits on the idea of estimated billings, currently used by the 11 Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs), as a result of numerous complains of bogus bills from electricity consumers nationwide, after five years of power sector privitasation.
According to NERC in a released report ‘Consultation Paper on the Capping of Estimated Billing’, the commission rejected the estimated billing methodology which began almost six years ago, describing it as a total failure. It explained that the major source of complaints by all DISCOs customers is the problem of estimated billings by the electricity distribution companies.
NERC went on to add that stakeholders have been calling on the Commission to find a more impartial way of billing customers, in order to ensure that consumers are fairly billed.
Estimated Billing Methodology
Meanwhile, the regulation on estimated billing methodology was established by NERC to provide for the standardization of the methods used by DISCOs to estimate a consumer’s power usage and bills accruing, thereby, in instances where the DISCOs is unable to read the consumer’s bill within a billing period.
According to the privatisation programme, the 11 DISCOs have contractual obligation to meter all their customers within five years, as contained in the performance agreement they signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria. However, this metering obligation is yet to be fully met by the distribution companies, leading to mountain of complaints by the consumers.
According to the Commission, the issue brought about the introduction of the Methodology for Estimated Billing, which is structured to ensure that non-metered electricity consumers are billed with scientifically-generated estimates.
Consumers With Prepaid Meters
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Power Sector Report for the second quarter of 2018, only 1.62 million Nigerian consumers are with Prepaid Meters (PPM) at the end of the second quarter of 2018. This shows an increase of 1.59% from 1.59 million customers in the previous quarter of Q1 2018.
The NBS report also revealed that out of the 1.62 million prepaid-metered customers in Q2 2018, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) accounted for the highest number of customers with 282,868, which is the same number of customers they also metered in Q1 2028. They are closely followed by Abuja Disco with 270,918 metered customers and Ibadan Disco with 254,261 in that order. The least total number of metered customers during the period under review was recorded by Yola Disco with a total of 37,329 customers.
Estimated Billing vs Prepaid-Meter Billing
With just a total of 1.62 million estimated-meter consumers at the end of the quarter ending June 2018 and a quarter on quarter PPM increase of just 1.59% from the previous quarter of Q1 2018, it clearly shows that majority of Nigerian consumers are still without prepaid meters. The report equally shows that most of the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) are not ready to issue consumers with PPM, as most of them recorded a PPM increase of 0% in Q2 2018, which means no PPM was issued out to consumers during the period under review. Out of the 11 DISCOs operating in Nigeria, only 3 of them issued PPM to their consumers throughout the second quarter of 2018.
COVID-19: FG to disburse N10 billion for local vaccine production
The Minister of Health has disclosed that Nigeria is exploring options for the licensed production of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Covid-19 briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja.
- “The Ministry of Finance has released N10billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He also warned Nigerians to ignore news about vaccines being for sale in Nigeria, as the procedures to acquire vaccines have to pass through due process.
- “I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
- “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”
He also stated that as Nigeria is experiencing the second wave, the FG needs to change its response procedures through infection mitigations and vaccines.
- “There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge. The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic – Infection mitigation, Therapeutics and Vaccines.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Health Minister announced Nigeria’s plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 112,004 confirmed cases.
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 112,004 cases have been confirmed, 89,939 cases have been discharged and 1,449 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.17 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.15 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th January 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 112,004
- Total Number Discharged – 89,939
- Total Deaths – 1,449
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,172,234
According to the NCDC, the 1,617 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (776), Kaduna (147) Kwara (131), FCT (102), Plateau (78), Edo (59), Ogun (53), Osun (45), Rivers (37), Taraba (36), Nasarawa (34), Adamawa (33), Kano (26), Delta (20), Ebonyi (16), Bayelsa (11), Gombe(11) and Borno (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 41,400, followed by Abuja (14,700), Plateau (6,831), Kaduna (6,325), Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,429), Edo (3,320), Ogun (2,912), Kano (2,617), Delta (2,122), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Kwara (1,697), Enugu (1,583), Gombe (1,500), Nasarawa (1,335), Ebonyi (1,275), Osun (1,260), Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).
Borno State has recorded 867 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (619), Adamawa (573), Niger (547), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (294), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169), Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
US Capitol complex temporarily shut down
The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby.
The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily for about an hour on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby, highlighting the security concerns that are being raised days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The security concerns and the lockdown follows the January 6 attack on the US Capital by supporters of the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, after his encouragement and inciting comments, calling the Presidential election a fraud without any proof of evidence.
Some of them even called for the death of the US Vice President, Mike Pence for presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s November election victory.
While making the disclosure in a statement, the Capitol Police said that the lockdown has been lifted and the nearby fire contained.
The Acting Chief of the Capitol Police had said that the complex which comprises of the Capitol, its grounds and several buildings were shut down as a precautionary measure.
The US Secret Service in a tweet post on its official Twitter handle said, “Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public.’’
The city’s fire department in its tweet post said that firefighters put out a fire outside near the Capitol complex.
The fire department said, “There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen.”
What you should know
- President-elect, Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in at the US Capitol on Wednesday amid an unprecedented cordon of security, with strict physical distancing measures in place due to threats of violent attacks in Washington and the rising cases of coronavirus infections.
- Donald Trump, who is just fresh from a historic second impeachment from the congress had said he would not attend, although his deputy, Vice President Mike Pence, had given an indication that he would attend.