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Group Lauds NERC For Suspending Electricity Tariff Increase

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A group, known as All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum has commended the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for suspending the increment in electricity tariffs by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
Its National Coordinator, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, made the commendation in Lagos, yesterday. .
NERC had on March 31 suspended tariff increment by the 11 DisCos which was supposed to take effect on April 1 yesterday due to the impact of the Coronavirus on global economy and the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
Samuel-Ilori said: “ The instructions to the effect that the tariff was suspended was never a surprise to many of us as consumers advocate because we put pressure on the regulatory body on why it was expedient to do so.
“We believe with the ongoing pandemic in which the purchasing power of many Nigerians have been reduced with stay at home order and finally lockdown by many states won’t have made it feasible.
“ Kudos to the NERC team for doing this and to prove to all that section 32(1) of Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR)Act that stipulates their obligations to both the consumers and other stakeholders was exercised without bias or preference to any player in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
He said it was, however, surprising that NERC in the order agreed with electricity consumer groups that many of the DisCos were not qualified to ask for increment based on the proviso of the extant law which premised such requests on performance and efficient delivery of service.
Samuel-Ilori said : “It is germane that such proviso was not considered in the past before approval was given.
“ So, we made it clear to the regulatory body that we will  contest it in court, which we have put the process in motion should in case they failed to let reason prevail.
“It is common knowledge that no sane country will approve increase of tariff without following due process and risk prolonged litigation which the resultant effect won’t favour them once they failed to do what they ought to do from the onset.”
According to him,  NERC also utilised the result gotten from the various public hearings conducted ahead of the tariff increment which is in line with Section 76(7) of the EPSR Act.
He said: “By proviso of section 76(1)(a),  the criteria indicate that the DisCos shall make request for increase based on efficient performance to cushion the effect of investment and recover same.
“As far as we can see and it is obvious,there has not been any significant improvement in the sector and the NERC took judicial notice of this in reaching their decision to cancel the order for the increment on April 1”.
Samuel-Ilori urged the DisCos to take up the challenge of sending in their improvement templates as to how to improve their performance and make their service efficient so as to qualify for any increase in tariff.
“When things are done the way they ought to be done , the masses are not averse to reward as appropriate.
“ We the consumers advocacy groups won’t hesitate to help any DisCo with intention to improve service and also compel the consumers to pay as and when due,” he said.

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Oil & Energy

Nigeria In Trouble As Oil Price Crashes Below $20

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Oil price fell below $20 a barrel yesterday, after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said demand would slump by a record this year despite a historic production cut deal.
Futures fell as much as 4.5% in New York to the lowest since 2002.
Oil demand will drop by over 9 million barrels a day this year, wiping out a decade of consumption growth, the IEA said, exhausting storage by mid-year.
While Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers have pledged to cut supply starting next month, they have continued to flood the market in April.
Stockpiles are rising everywhere and weakening key physical market gauges. New York oil futures moved deeper into contango, signaling an expanding glut, while swap prices indicate North Sea cargoes are trading at bumper discounts.
Oil has lost about two-thirds of its value this year as countries extend their coronavirus lockdowns, death tolls mount around the world and unemployment explodes in America.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the global economy will shrink 3% this year, a signal that energy demand may remain weak, while the IEA is warning that the worst may be yet to come.
“We may see further downward pressure on prices in coming days and weeks,” IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol, said.
The IEA said consumption in April will fall by almost a third to the lowest level since 1995, and make this year the worst in the history of the oil market.
Despite OPEC+’s efforts to balance supply, global inventories will accumulate by 12 million barrels a day in the first half of the year and “overwhelm the logistics of the oil industry” in the coming weeks, it warned.
The massive OPEC+ deal to cut production starts next month. Until then the battle for market share persists with Abu Dhabi cutting its crude pricing for Asia. It follows a similar move by Saudi Arabia earlier in the week.

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NUPENG Lauds Members Over Petrol Supply Amid Lockdown

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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has commended its members on essential services for ensuring uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to every nooks and crannies of the country during the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The union, however, decried the harassment and intimidation of oil company workers by security agents, calling on oil companies and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to provide adequate security passes for the workers.
NUPENG in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Olawale Afolabi, respectively, said petroleum tanker drivers, petrol station workers, petroleum products depot workers, oil and gas suppliers, and  liquefied petroleum gas retailers, had  made NUPENG and the  entire labour movement proud  as they moved through difficult and dangerous situations to ensure fuel supply to Nigerians.
The statement read in part: “The leadership of NUPENG has reviewed the roles of our members in the frontline in this critical period as Nigerians fight to contain the spread of the deadly and contagious coronavirus pandemic and we are proud to say our members on essential services have made us proud.
“In fact, not only have they made NUPENG and the United Labour Congress of Nigeria proud, our petroleum tanker drivers and others have made the entire labour movement proud by continuing to ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to every nooks and crannies of the country despite the difficult and sometimes, dangerous situations as most states across the country are on lockdown.
“Once again, we appeal to state governments, security agents and Nigerians in general to cooperate with members of our unions who are risking their lives to provide essential services in the nation.”
NUPENG also appealed to corporate organisations to provide sanitisers and other safety kits to members of the union on essential services, to protect them and members of their families.
It stated: “We want to use the opportunity to call on oil companies and the DPR to provide adequate pass to our members on essential services to end the harassment and intimidation they are being subjected to by security agents across the country.”

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Oil & Energy

FG Releases N200bn To Improve Power Sector 

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Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, says the Federal Government has made payment of over N200 billion to the power sector towards improving electricity supply in the country.
Kyari disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, shortly after a closed door meeting between the NNPC team, Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman and Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Mohammed.
“Actually the Federal Government has made payment of over N200 billion for power in the last 23 days and this will go a long way to ensure that issues around power supply are addressed.
“We will work as a team to ensure that all issues are settled”, he said.
Kyari said that the team was in the Ministry of Power to inform the minister that in the last one or two months and particularly during the COVID-19 period, NNPC has increased gas supply to the power sector.
According to him, there will be significant improvement in power generation in all Federal Government and associated power facilities.
“This also means that Nigerians will get better access to power during this lockdown period and going forward.
“There are issues around power supply process and we have discussed most of them and we are moving as a team to make sure that we resolve issues around payment and evacuation.
“We are very confident that this will get the desired result. We will visit some power plants tomorrow to make sure that we sort out any issue to ensure that Nigerians have access to better power,” he said.
He said that the minister was very clear on what was to be done to improve power supply.
“We will make sure this becomes transparent and obvious to all Nigerians,” he said.
On his part, TCN Managing Director, Mr Usman Mohammed said that the meeting was to ensure that there was constant supply of power as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mohammed said that the President has directed that there should be constant power supply to the people during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“This is why this meeting was conveyed by the Minister of Power to discuss supply of gas to the power plants.
“This is very important, before now, we have been discussing with NNPC, of course there is gas availability in the market but there are several power plants that don’t have gas and that is a big problem for us.
“With this meeting where the minister prevailed that NNPC should assist in suppling gas to the power plants, we believe that will have steady and sustainable power supply going forward especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, “ he said.

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