Tariff Review: BEDC To Improve Electricity Supply, Plans 300MW Embedded Power
‘You’ve Performed Below Expectation’-Customers
The management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company,(BEDC) Plc, Tuesday, February 26 disclosed that with a reviewed tariff, it will revolutionize electricity distribution and provide top services to customers by embarking on network re-alignment.
Speaking at a Public Consultation Forum in Benin City to review tariff increase, Chief Head of BEDC, Benin, Mr. Abel Enechiaziam, said the company is set to provide new distribution transformers and also provide dedicated express feeders to supply 24×7 power to identified customer groups.
The Public Consultation Forum was held across all BEDC franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti.
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Abel assured that the company would actualize its proposal for an embedded power of about 300megawatts under the willing buyer, willing seller arrangement with independent power generators outside the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) national grid in order to boost power supply and meet needs of customers.
He further assured customers that it would also improve supply to commercial entities across its coverage states due to the need to enable the companies ensure job creation and balance social lives, by adding new injection substations and 500 number distribution substations to strengthen existing network.
“Plan is ongoing to invest in electrification of electrified areas and strengthening of existing network” BEDC said, adding that it also plans to ensure 100per cent metering under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) and 100per cent enumeration and proper mapping of customers to transformers and feeders.
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Addressing customer complaints further, the Chief Head said BEDC would equip its Call Centre to a level where customer issues would be resolved at a point of discussion thereby making the Call Centre a one-stop shop for complaints resolution.
He noted that in all the electricity value chain process, customer was king and critical to sustenance of the sector, as he encouraged them to pay their bills, sayingthis would assure adequate, reliable and affordable power.
However, reacting, customers were angry about BEDC performance as all who spoke at the forum scored BEDC low.
A customer, while speaking, urged the company to jettison the planned increase on tariff and rather focus on improvement on power supply.
Another customer charged BEDC to tackle bypassing of meters as practised by some customers, warning that if tariff increases, bypassing would be order of the day.
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On his part, another customer, said BEDC has performed below expectation and that all information presented by the company were false.
“Most of the information provided by you are false and misleading. In your information, your allocated Edo State community to Delta State, this reveals your lies and that you are not well-organised.
In his remark, Deputy General Manager, Consumer Affair of
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Shittu Shuaibu, said no electricity consumers should be made to pay for service not rendered by the the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs)
He said it would be a disservice to the electricity consumers by making them to pay for what they are not given.
“Electricity is two side thing, if you don’t get the service, you don’t need to pay for it. If you don’t fuel or repair generator you cannot pay electrician.
“But we want as much as possible to ensure that BEDC have what to serve you better. The most critical thing is that they must served you before they get paid.
“If you are given service, you pay for service and if you are not given light, you should challenge it through NERC process.
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He explained “customers will have to report to the Customers Complaint Unit first, and if not satisfied, take it to the Forum Office and after which, you pass on to the Commission and the issues will be resolved. it doesn’t matter whether it is metering, transformer or service delivery problem,”.
Shaibu, however, assured that the commission will do everything within the armbit of the law to ensure that electricity problems are addressed in the country.
On the issue of the revocation of the company’s lincens, he said BEDC still has additional year to prove their competency.
Payment Platform’s Valuation Drops By $45bn
Global payment platform, Stripe Incorporated’s valuation fell to $50bn from its $95 valuation in March 2021.
This was as the company announced on Wednesday that it had signed agreements for more than $6.5bn in a Series I round of funding with existing investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund, and new ones such as Singapore-based GIC and Temasek, and Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management.
Stripe had already received $2.2bn in funding, according to Crunchbase.
Stripe said that “The funds raised will be used to provide liquidity to current and former employees and address employee withholding tax obligations related to equity awards, resulting in the retirement of Stripe shares that will offset the issuance of new shares to Series I investors.
“Stripe does not need this capital to run its business.”
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Stripe said in Wednesday’s release that 100 businesses now handle more than $1bn through its platform.
Stripe in 2020 acquired Nigeria’s payment platform, Paystack, in a $200m deal.
Meanwhile, as Africa continues to experience rapid technological growth and increasing internet penetration, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, has called on governments to collaborate to minimise the impact of cyberattacks on the continent’s critical infrastructure, national security, reputation and economy.
According to a statement issued on Friday by the agency, Inuwa made the call while speaking on ‘Strategies for Boosting Africa’s Cyber Resilience’ at the ongoing GISEC Global, a leading gathering for the cybersecurity community in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The DG said that to protect citizens and assets and genuinely harness the benefits of an increasingly complicated digital reality, Africa cannot afford to be apathetic towards cybersecurity, adding that with the right strategies and approaches, Africa can enhance its cybersecurity posture and build resilience against cyberattacks.
FG Raises Fuel Supply To Avert Price Hike
The Federal Government, through its Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, has increased the supply of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, to independent oil marketers, in a bid to avert a further hike in the pump price of the commodity.
Oil marketers confirmed on Friday that the national oil company listened to their demands for an increase in the volumes of PMS released to independent filling stations, so as to curb the widening disparity in the cost of petrol.
They told our correspondent that the move by NNPCL had now improved the availability of products in retail outlets operated by independent marketers, adding that the national oil firm also promised to sustain this.
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On Wednesday, it was reported that oil marketers warned that there could be an imminent hike in fuel price due to the poor supply of the commodity by NNPCL.
They cautioned that the disparity in the pump price of petrol would further widen due to the incomplete delivery of products to many filling stations.
According to the report, dealers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, said there was a lopsided pattern in the distribution of PMS lately, stressing that this would cause scarcity and worsen the price disparity in retail outlets.
“Here in Port Harcourt, for instance, we have Oando and NNPC Retail, and they have products in some private depots. Master Energy and Liquid Bulk also have products, but there is no volume for independent marketers,” the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, had stated.
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He added, “Independent marketers have no volume in all these depots and we have over 3,400 tickets lying and waiting at the NNPC Retail account.
“This new system is now making independent marketers beg for petroleum products from NNPC Retail. The lopsided distribution pattern will continue to cause scarcity and price disparity in retail outlets.”
But when asked on Friday whether the NNPCL had listened to the demands of oil marketers, in order to avert the imminent price hike, Ukadike replied in the affirmative.
He said, “The NNPCL supplied 13 million litres and informed us about it. This is to cushion the effect of the poor supply in the affected areas. They also promised that they will ensure that marketers are given products back-to-back.”
The IPMAN official assured PMS consumers that with the sustenance of adequate supply by NNPCL, the cost of petrol at filling stations operated by independent marketers, would always revolve around the government-approved price.
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NNPCL is the sole importer of PMS into Nigeria and this has continued for several year. Other marketers stopped importing the commodity due to the difficulty in accessing the United States dollar for PMS imports.
The marketers now source the commodity from NNPCL at a subsidised cost, for onward distribution to consumers across the country.
“That is the situation of things now. The recent supply of PMS has really helped in making the product available in many retail outlets across the country. So, with enough supply, the issue of unnecessary price disparities would be addressed,” Ukadike stated.
On Thursday, The PUNCH reported that the consumption of petrol in Nigeria had risen to about 80 million litres daily, pushing up subsidy on the commodity to an estimated N484bn monthly.
The report stated that an analysis of PMS weekly evacuation/dispatch data from March 4 – 10, 2023, obtained from NNPCL, indicated that a total of 558.83 million litres of petrol was evacuated during the period, translating to an average daily consumption of 79.83 million litres.
Around mid-last month, the Group Chief Executive, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, said about 66 million litres of petrol was pumped daily into the market by the oil firm, as the company was spending about N202 on every litre of PMS consumed across the country.
Currency In Circulation Now N982bn – CBN
The currency in circulation in the country dipped by a 235.03 per cent to N982.09bn at the end of February from N3.29tn at the end of October 2022, on the back of the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Figures obtained from the CBN revealed that N2.3tn was mopped up from circulation during the period under review.
According to the CBN, the currency in circulation moved from N3.16tn to N3.29tn and N1.38tn in November 2022, December 2022 and January 2023 respectively.
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The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Emefiele also announced deadlines for Nigerians to swap their old notes with the new notes.
The governor decried the challenges associated with currency management, including the hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of currency-in-circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks.
Other challenges, he added included a shortage of clean and fit banknotes with an attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability and increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports.
In the last few years, the CBN has recorded significantly higher rates of counterfeiting, especially in regard to the higher denominations of N500 and 1000 notes, he said.
At the expiration of the deadline for the old notes, due to the scarcity of the new naira notes, which subjected Nigerians to hardship President Muhammadu Buhari approved the continued use of the old N200 as legal tender till April 10.
However, after some state governments sued the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy, the Supreme Court in its ruling on March 3 extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to December 31.
On Tuesday, 10 days after the Supreme Court judgement, the CBN officially ordered commercial banks to comply with the court verdict.
According to the CBN, currency-in-circulation is defined as currency outside the vaults of the central bank; that is, all legal tender currency in the hands of the public and in the vaults of the Deposit Money Banks.
The CBN stated that it employed the “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in Nigeria.
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This approach involved tracking the movements of currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
It said for every withdrawal made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, an increase in the CIC was recorded, adding that for every deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, a decrease in the CIC was recorded.
The transactions are all recorded in the CBN’s CIC account, and the balance on the account at any point in time represents the country’s currency in circulation.
The apex bank said analysis of the currency in circulation showed that a large and increasing proportion of the naira outside the commercial banking system was held by the public who hoard a lot of the new banknotes.
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