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Business News

NERC says electricity consumers will be refunded for meter payment

The FG through NERC has said electricity consumers who paid for meters under the MAP scheme, will have a refund of their money.

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Electricity, Buhari moves against Discos and agents that collect money for prepaid meters

The Federal Government has said that electricity consumers who paid for meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, will have a refund of their money.

This clarification is coming on the heels of enquiries by some electricity consumers, who wanted to know if the money they had paid for meters under the MAP scheme, would be refunded, bearing in mind the recent government’s pronouncement that 6 million meters would be distributed at no cost to customers under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP)

READ: Ikeja Electric tops with 10.7% approved meter allocation – NERC

According to a report from Punch, this disclosure was made by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in an email statement, through its Head Public Affairs, Mr Michael Faloseyi, on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

READ: Nigerian firm set to raise $1.2 billion to purchase electricity meters

What the NERC is saying

The regulator said that all power distribution companies (Discos) had keyed into the NMMP initiative, adding, “Meter deployments are commencing in earnest across all Discos under the first phase of the NMMP.”

The commission said the first rollout of meters had already started based on meters that were already available at the warehouses of the Discos and meter asset providers.

READ: Inflation rate, yet to factor in rise in higher electricity prices

On if the consumers would later bear the cost of meters, NERC said, “Given that all prudent costs are borne by customers, the full cost of metering would form part of the tariff once the industry assumes full cost recovery.”

“All customers who made payment for meters under the MAP scheme would be refunded. The modality for the refund of the meter’s cost funded by the customers either through upfront payment or amortized payments is being worked out.”

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READ: Relief as NERC simplifies electricity meter acquisition for consumers

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in a bid to close the huge metering gap in the power sector, NERC approved MAP in March 2018, a regulation that provides for the supply, financing, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by other parties approved by the commission.
  • The scheme introduces third-party meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
  • Under the MAP scheme, which took off on May 1, 2019, electricity consumers have two options for acquiring a meter: upfront payment or instalment payments through metering service charge on a monthly basis.
  • But the scheme has suffered setbacks, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, according to the regulator.

READ: 58,800 contributors registered under micro pension plan – PENCOM Report

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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    Business

    Cement prices surge in South East as scarcity, price hike hit North East

    Prices of cement have risen by 67% in many Southeastern states and by 40% as observed in northern states including Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, others.

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    The prices of cement have risen by 67% in the South-East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

    This is as some residents of the North-Eastern part of the country also complained of price hike of cement, which they attributed to the scarcity of the product and the activities of middlemen who try to capitalize on the situation.

    According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a market survey conducted at various wholesale and retail shops in the eastern zone shows that the price of the product has almost doubled when compared to the price in 2020.

    What the cement traders in the eastern states are saying

    A cement dealer at Kenyetta Market in Enugu State, Mr Ifeanyi Amadi, said the increase in the price of the product which started last year was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and increase in dollar exchange.

    He pointed out that a trailer load of Dangote cement with 600 bags, which sold for N1.5 million in 2020, sold for N2.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.

    Another retailer, Samuel Uwakwe, noted that a bag of Dangote Cement now goes for N3,900, Unicem for N3,700; BUA Cement for N3,700 and Kogi Super Cement for N3,600.

    While begging the suppliers to reduce the price and make the product available, Uwakwe expressed his reservations at few individuals being given the opportunity to supply the product noting that the prices would likely crash during raining season.

    In Abia, a cross-section of residents of Umuahia, the state capital, also decried the high price of cement, which ranges from N4,000 to N4,100 per 50kg bag.

    Those who spoke to NAN said the price hike had further dashed the hope of many Nigerians, wishing to own their personal homes.

    A businessman, Mr Victor Ugwu, said he had to suspend his building project because of the current development as he could not afford to continue with the current price of the commodity.

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    He said,  “I think the hike can be attributed to the monopoly being enjoyed by the cement producers in the country. Unfortunately, there may not be any respite until that monopoly is broken.”

    However, a cement dealer, Mr James Ogbonna, said the price increase had nothing to do with the manufacturers of the commodity but rather put the blame on the activities of shylock distributors of cement.

    He said, “In the first and second week of March, we sold a bag for N3,200, but within the third week we started selling at N3,500. By the end of March, the price moved up to N4,000 and now, we sell between N4,000 and N4100, depending on the brand.”

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    A cement dealer in Awka, Mr Kenechukwu Okoye, said before the #EndSARS protest in 2020, a 50kg bag of cement was sold at N2,500 bur rose to N3,000 immediately after the protest and from there to the current price of N4,000 and N4,100.

    The survey also says that in Owerri, the Imo state capital, the price of cement is between N3,850 and N4300, depending on the brand.

    At the building materials Market in Naze, Owerri North Local Government Area, Dangote and BUA cement are sold at N4,000 per bag while BUA and UNICEM are sold for N3,900.

    Mr Okechukwu Okonya, a seller, said the cost could be attributed to the high cost of transportation as a result of fuel price increase adding that major dealers sometimes hoard the product in their warehouses to create artificial scarcity.

    The survey report says that in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, prices of almost all building materials have gone up, with Dangote and Bua which sold for N2,500 earlier in November and December 2020 now selling for between N4000 and N4500.

    Similarly, Unicem cement which also sold at N2,300 within the same period had also gone up to N4,000 and N4,300.

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    Similar price increase in North East

    The survey report in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Jigawa, shows an average of 40% increase in price.

    According to the respondents, this could be attributed to the outbreak of Covid-19 which affected production in factories, while demand kept rising.

    Others, however, blamed the hike on the high cost of transportation and other sundry activities associated with the business of procurement and sales of cement in the country.

    Malam Ibrahim Sanusi, a cement dealer at the Gombe main market described the hike as outrageous when compared with the price of the same commodity the previous year.

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    He said that a bag of Dangote brand which he bought for N2,400 and sold for N2, 500, is bought for N4,000 from their depot in Gombe and sold for N4,200.

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    Energy

    Carbon Tax: A market-based alternative to carbon emissions in Nigeria

    A carbon tax is a way to have users of carbon fuels pay for the climate damage caused by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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    climate, Understanding Carbon Credits and Carbon Offset market

    Fossil Fuel is hurting us. It is an undeniable truth. I have heard in many conversations more often than not a very solid support for the fossil industry. Rather simple conversations on its perils and disadvantages always end with resignation by the other party that “fossil has come to stay.”

    While not doubting that premise, I rather believe a lot can be done to limit the harmful effect of what is here to stay with us. A lot can be said about how beneficial fossil fuel is to the economy and how it is initially cheaper and more available but, in truth, the harms still exists.

    Sadly, these harms are more than good. The clarion call to stop these emissions has been on for a very long time, but the reality remains the attention span of the larger consumer population is very very short when it comes to that discourse.

    I would say, the essence and need for us to look to further means to mitigate the harm from fossil fuel is not just for a cleaner environment but also for an environment to still exist. The constant clamour for a change in our perspective is not just for the growth of the alternative sector but also a struggle for survival, because we will all lose if we do not stop.

    Now, since we have declared to ourselves that we wouldn’t stop, it only makes sense if we can effectively checkmate how we continue with fossil, adopt Carbon Capture techniques and in an attempt to make sure no one goes overboard, impose fines on the amount on those that burn beyond their limit and on fossil that enters the country. This is a concept that, rather thankfully, already exists. Carbon Tax.

    A carbon tax is a fee imposed on the burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas). A carbon tax is a way — the only way, really — to have users of carbon fuels pay for the climate damage caused by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    It is a market-based alternative that helps the government reduce the carbon footprint and also allows them make money as a government when there is a breach of this solemn oath to stay in check. In Nigeria, The Carbon Tax Act came into force on 1 June 2019. The carbon tax was designed to apply to direct emissions in the following categories as specified in the National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations:

    • Fuel combustion, which relates to emissions released from fuel combustion activities;
    • Fugitive emissions from fuels, which relates to emissions mainly released from the extraction, production, processing, and distribution of fossil fuels; and
    • Industrial processes emissions, which relates to emissions released from the consumption of carbonates and the use of fuels as feedstock or as carbon reductants, and the emission of synthetic gases in particular cases.

    It is trite to say that this entire scheme is altogether ineffective and barely surviving. It is sad to note because there are numerous benefits to Carbon Tax. The advantages of doing this asides still having a healthy civilization in the next 100 years are numerous. First, it would be creating a very profitable system of revenue for the government. Here, the government will not need to spend much on the initial cost of having this revenue stream in place. Aside from the need to establish an agency to enforce the limits and payment of fines and the adequate system of calculating and verifying the amount consumed, the expenses on the government is almost Zero. This agency unlike many others in this country will be more active than idle, considering the existence of various fossil burning industries in Nigeria and being largely oil-dependent.

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    Secondly, this would help Nigeria join the global effort to reduce the carbon footprint and in turn put Nigeria on the good pages of the global community as a contributor to green energy. This will birth a host of benefits for the Nigerian Community and also assist the domestic green energy advocates.

    Furthermore, this system will help to promote the alternative energy industry. The renewable energy industry will from this initiative be able to sufficiently measure the actual impact of their activities on the environment and the economy as well as challenge the growth of new innovations to grow it. The campaigns will no longer be dependent on cancelling out the large emissions killing the environment since more revenue now streams for the government from them, but to the actual direct benefits of renewable energy.

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    This alternative will also assist the government in assessing the benefits of reducing emissions and growing the renewable energy industry. The implementation of this will serve as a step for the assessment and understanding of the dynamics, policies and funding needed for the full inevitable integration of Green Energy.

    The advantages are numerous and as such need Carbon Taxing to be revived in the country. In all sincerity to the dynamics of Nigerian politics and due respect to our exalted government, it is almost too easy for these things to be put in place seeing they will also have a fresh channel to loot from while saving our dear lives and making the air cleaner. A Win-Win for all the parties involved.

     

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    Written by Ude Fortune Chiziterem

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