By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission said it has begun energy efficiency programmes aimed at freeing up over 1,000 mega watts of electricity which would be added to the grid to boost electric power supply in the country.

It also said it was developing a software/model to automate the system to track customer complaints and provide a platform for submission of reports and to operationalise Forum Offices amongst other things.

This was disclosed in a communiqué, yesterday, made available to our correspondent in Abuja at the end of a two-day meeting of NERC with Chief Executive Officers of eleven Distribution Companies and Market Operator in the country.

It stated that, “The Commission is working on freeing up to 1,000MW through energy efficiency programmes. This will be done in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria, PTFP, Federal Ministry of Power, Consumer Protection Council, DISCOS and most importantly the consumers.”

It also noted that stranded funds should be turned over to the Market Escrow Account, adding that, “There is need for DISCOS to ensure full compliance with the market rules and where there are any issues with implementation, use the amendment provision in the Market Rules to make them more practical.”

The Commission also noted that it would incorporate effective enforcement of standards following gaps identified in the market.  These gaps were identified as insufficient compliance with Health and Safety monthly report especially submission on accidents, adherence to the requirement of setting up Health and Safety Units and compliance with market rules and prompt response to customer complaints.

To this extent, NERC explained that it has adopted a framework of negotiation and consultation which requires feedback as a way of overcoming technical and structural constraints and increasing capacities of the DISCOS snd Generating Companies (GENCOS).

The meeting also noted the challenges in the implementation of market transaction were identified. These include the mandate instruction and structure with banks call-overs in settlement calendar and periodic reconciliations between the Market Operator and DISCOS. These need to be fine tuned to ensure full transparency and ease of compliance.

It noted that in line with the Federal Executive Council directive, operators in the Power Sector are to upgrade their accounting system to conform to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Furthermore, the Commission said it was not satisfied with the pace of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) reports received despite the standards format developed for reporting. However, clarifications were made to DISCOS who requested for it. The DISCOS were also required to nominate Regulatory Compliance Officers for effective compliance.

On the issue of Meter Maintenance Fee (MMF) & Metering issues, the communiqué stressed that the replacement of new meters and faulty ones free of charge in line with the metering code was considered and re-emphasized.

The Commission also advised the DISCOS to adhere to existing market rules in force, improve consultations with the Commission and  through their representatives on ISAP, make recommendation on amendment of existing rules were necessary.

The meeting further noted that the MYTO review should capture through contributions of DISCOS, all capital and operating expenditure to enhance effective operations in a sustainable manner.

The Commission stated that it would, in conjunction with the Nigerian Accounting Standard Board, develop a training program for CEO’s, Head of Accounts and other line officers in Management Accounts Department for the adoption of IFRS by all Electricity Licensees. This will also include Gencos and IPP’s.

The Commission directed the submission of the Management Accounts of DISCOS on or before 7th May, 2011. These accounts will be audited within 6 – 8 weeks. Names of Regulatory Compliance Officers of DISCOS should be sent to the Commission. In line with their function as a bridge in the conveyance of all critical information.

It was agreed that the subsidy fund will be best used for commercial metering projects and CEO’s have decided with the market operator on the framework of dealing with the 2.5 billion Naira funds

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