The Guardian (Lagos)

10 August 2014

Nigeria: NERC Audits Finances of Electricity Firms

DISTURBED by allegations of financial crisis plaguing the electricity sector, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ( NERC) has commenced audit of the distribution companies ( Discos).

The process, according to a deliable source, commenced with the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.

Relatedly, the Commission has appointed a Dispute Resolution Counsellor and constituted members of a Dispute Resolution Panel for the sector. This, as The Guardian learnt, is part of the requirements of a functional market, determined by contracts and contractual agreements.

Chairman of the Commission, Sam Amadi, confirmed the development in an interview with The Guardian.

He said: "We have started monitoring. In fact, we have started with monitoring the finances of the discos. Because the major issue now is the cry about financial liquidity. So, we need to go into that. We need to look at their looks. That is why we are now benchmarking the discos to higher level of remittance. Now, when we say they should be paying more to the market to reduce the revenue gap, the payment gap, or the debt, they claim that they don't have enough money to perhaps run operations.

"That is why we now say, okay let's see the books. And what we are seeing reveal that many of the discos can do better. So, we are pushing them. In fact, one of the discos that we have audited, has started voluntarily to improve its collection, its remittance. Essentially, what we are doing is that the monitoring is focusing on finances. We are also monitoring on quality service.

Amadi continued: "Our people are going out. We have scheduled engineering department and our market and rate people to monitor the performance in the distribution companies In terms of their management of the infrastructure and in terms of consumer care, looking at dispute complaints, consumer complaints units. We look at the provision of forum offices and other infrastructure of consumer complaint redress mechanisms and consumer care."

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