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NERC Tasks DISCOs On Prepaid Meters

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The owner of Ardis Farm, Chief Ayodele Adigun (left), speaking with newsmen over invasion of the farm by armed robbers in Lagun  Lagelu local government area of Oyo State recently.

The owner of Ardis Farm, Chief Ayodele Adigun (left), speaking with newsmen over invasion of the farm by armed robbers in Lagun Lagelu local government area of Oyo State recently.

The Nigerian Electricity
Regulatory Commission (NERC) has called on electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to “meter’’ consumers, who have paid for various types of meters since November 2013.
The Acting Chairman of NERC, Dr Anthony Akah, made the call in Abuja, on Tuesday, at a meeting with representatives of distribution companies.
“Before we conclude our investigation we want to use this opportunity to ask any distribution company that has collected money from any consumer since November 2013 for meter and has not metered him that it is a criminal offence.
“You can’t hold the consumers’ money.
“Between this time and the time we are verifying, find a way to go and meter these consumers, because the kind of complaints we get on our table every day is as huge as this.’’
According to Akah, it is the responsibility of the distribution companies to provide meters to consumers in line with the tariff model all over the world,.
He said Nigerian electricity consumers were desirous of constant electricity supply in the country.
“Nigerian consumers certainly need 24 hours light that is the most important thing they want to hear.’’
He said the commission’s engagement with the consumers showed that they were dissatisfied with estimated billing rates, noting that they desired an end to unfair estimation.
He added that the greatest challenge facing the commission as a regulator was metering, noting that efforts were on to mitigate the challenge.
“We must protect the consumers; there is no going back on our resolve to step up our monitoring mechanism to stop unfair billing of Nigerian consumers. It is grossly unfair,” he stressed.
He noted that NERC had written to the distribution companies requesting for clear information on the consumers metered over the years.
He said the commission was also mediating on the payment of debt owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to the companies with a view to making the MDAs pay the debt.
The representatives of the distribution companies, at the forum identified the non-readiness of consumers and hostile environments as challenges in metering.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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