Written by Sarah NEGEDU

DisCos chide NERC, face regulatory duties

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, have been asked to concentrate on cost under-recovery and other burning regulatory issues, rather than dissipate energy on activities of unions under its purview.

This advice was given by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, while responding to a communiqué by NERC discouraging its activities.

NERC had in a communiqué issued after a meeting with the DisCos on August 27, 2018 said ANED activities were discouraged and that the association should not interfere with policy directives or regulatory pronouncements made by the minister of power or the commission.

The regulatory agency also barred ANED from making any unwarranted remarks against the minister and NERC commissioners.

However, ANED in a statement by its Chief Executive Officer Azu Obiaya, asks NERC to focus on the N435.7billion under-recovery by electricity operators in the country rather than being distracted by the activities of the body.

The association stated that it had the legal backing to protect the interest of the distribution companies just like other bodies in the power sector, adding that its activities were guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the right of association.

“The Discos, with their formation of and membership of ANED, are exercising this right, not different from similar entities along the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry value chain, such as the Association of Power Generating Companies, Nigerian Gas Association, National Union of Electricity Employees, etc.

“The investors have sunk more than $1.4billion in the acquisition and operations of the Discos to date and our customers seek to enjoy the benefits of the best practices that result from the interaction of our members under the ANED umbrella.”

According to ANED, it represents the Discos with a principal mandate of advocacy to protect the interests of the member companies directly and indirectly, the incomes of a 22,000-employee workforce.

The association said there was a need to address the widening tariff gap that was hindering the Discos from performing their obligations due to the freezing of the residential tariffs (R2) in 2015 for 18 months, removal of collection losses in 2015, the non-implementation of five tariff reviews and checking N435.7 billion of under-recovered revenue, among others.

ANED insist that its expression or promotion of a viewpoint that is contrary to that of an established regulation or policy should not be construed as ‘interference’, particularly, in the context of the workings of an industry with multiple stakeholder interests.

 

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