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Some Important Concerns About The MAPs Policy Of Nigeria’s Power Sector

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Prepaid meters maps
Prepaid meters maps

Prepaid meters

In the last piece on the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) regulation by Nigeria News, the key points of the regulation were simplified so Nigerians could understand what is going on in the power sector with particular reference to the problem of providing prepaid meters for many unmetered Nigerians.

The main thrust of the MAPs regulations is to ensure that the billing practice known as ‘estimated billing’ is gone for good in the country. We all know how that regime of computing electricity bills has led to corruption, fraud, and inefficiency in the distribution chain.

To get a full understanding of what how MAPs works and what Nigerians should expect to get from it, simply read the piece here. A bit of knowledge of the policy would be the best grounding for what is written here.

Like all things in Nigeria, the best intentions of government or policymakers are never worth more than the paper they are written on. In other words, while the ideas are superb on paper, in practice so many hurdles are thrown at such policies to make them fail.

Sometimes, the hurdles are not intentional. More often than not though, these are deliberate moves to make sure status quo remains the same

There is no doubt that MAPs is a lofty idea. As a matter of fact, from the consumers’ point of view, it is the best thing to come out of the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) in recent years.

At least, for once, NERC is not trying to justify an increase in electricity bills in the face of glaring lack of power supply to consumers. To put it bluntly, electricity is the most obvious service Nigerians pay money for without getting any service. That sounds a lot like fraud to me.

Concerns about the MAPs policy

Cumbersome Licensing process

Reading through the process of licensing the firms, what is immediately clear is how long and tedious the process is. One gets the impression NERC is more interested in limiting the number companies willing and able to participate in the provision of meters to the public.

Interested parties not only have to wait on NERC to give them a certification of ‘No objection’, they have to sit through a bidding and qualification process with the Discos.

This is where it can get really tricky. Discos are not interested in divesting that part of their operations to third parties. They are not even interested in making sure all consumers are metered.

If they were, we would not be talking about MAPs since they would have given Nigerians the meters a long time ago.

Who is to say Discos won’t try to frustrate prospective MAPs in the bidding process? After all, it is in the best interest of the Discos not to share a part of their business with anybody.

Though the NERC insists it would monitor the bidding process to ensure it is transparent, but a determined Disco would find a loophole or even create one where there is none.

Compromised Regulatory officials

For the policy to work, officials of NERC must all be above board. On the other hand, it requires just one rogue NERC official to compromise the whole process.

It could easily come at the bidding process where the official would collude with the Disco to disqualify unwanted companies who applied.

Corrupt NERC officials could also put in a report that a particular company, after scaling the bidding process, is still not qualified because they have not met certain financial, technical and technological requirements.

In the end, we could end up with incompetent MAPs whose interests are perfectly aligned with the Discos: to fleece Nigerians of as much money as possible with providing quality service.

One permit per MAP per Disco

It is hard to understand the rationale behind restricting MAPs to just the one Disco with one permit. In effect, this is almost like killing competition as MAPs know that once they get the permit, it would be hard for a better MAP to dislodge them.

Another concern is the process of working with another Disco by an interested MAP with a permit and contract with a different Disco.

The regulation States that for a MAN to work with a different Disco, they have to go through the long process of getting a second permit?

It is likely NERC must be targeting the amount of money they would get for each license or permit applied for.

Why is it difficult to simply issue an already registered MAP with a ‘no objection’ certificate to work with a different Disco? After all, the initial process before granting the license was vigorous and exacting enough.

This provision just doesn’t make any sense at all.

The deadline

The Discos were given a 120-day deadline for Discos to register and start working with MAPs.

But in Nigeria, so many things can come into play to make that deadline impossible to meet.

The question is: what is NERC going to do to any Disco that doesn’t meet that deadline?

We have seen how after flouting so many orders in the past, including several orders relating to the provision of meters, the government buys the excuses of the Discos and let them be. Who is to say it is not going to happen again.

Well, we have just 3 more months to find out.

It is a sure bet that after the expiration of the deadline, the excuses for non-compliance would be familiar to Nigerians. We would hear things like lack of funds, technical problems, and administration glitches.

Hopefully, though, the Minister of Power would not allow vested interests to sabotage this policy. Nigerian need to get beyond such mundane matters like providing meters for houses.

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governance

Why Governor Elect In Imo State, Ihedioha Might Not Be Inaugurated

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Why Governor Elect In Imo State, Ihedioha Might Not Be Inaugurated

The Governor-elect in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha might not be inaugurated on 29th of May, 2019 as he was charged to Federal High Court by a plaintiff, Clifford Eze who was the Democratic Alternative, DA candidate in the past Gubernatorial election in Imo state, NIGERIA NEWS reports.

The Justice, PA Rimgim at the federal high court said that the plaintiff is very wrong for bringing up election matter after the election and then defense counsel, Emeka Ihejirika back what the justice said up by insinuating that the Clifford Eze does not follow the due process of the court thereby not in line with the court proceedings.

The defense counsel further state that, ”it is a primary knowledge that the regular court does not entertain post-election matters.

“The plaintiffs are already at the tribunal and the same things they brought up for argument at the tribunal are the same things they brought to the regular court.

“Apart from the federal high court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, it was an abuse of court processes.

“That was why the court slammed an N5m cost against the plaintiffs. It is as simple as that.”

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Election

INEC recovers 25 returning certificate from PDP, APC and states reasons

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inec pdp apc

 On Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it had pulled back 25 return certificates issued to some candidates who were previously announced as winners of the 2019 general election.

It said that the withdrawals were made on orders from the court.

Mr Festus Okoye, administrator of the Committee on Information and Voter Education, uncovered this on the occasion,“forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections,” that took place in Enugu.

Okoye said that 20 of the 25 return certificates were withdrawn from All Progressive Congress candidates and reissued to different APC party individuals.While two certificates were withdrawn from the People’s Democratic Party competitors and were reissued to other PDP candidates.

He said the remaining three endorsements had been withdrawn from both the APC and the PDP candidates and issued to other party individuals.

“Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday; the commission had withdrawn 25 certificates of return from the first owners and presented to their new owners, following court orders to do that,” he said.

Okoye praised the journalists for their transparency and powerful commitment with the commission, amid and after the elections.

He included that for the success of future elections, the media had proved to be fundamental partners.

He portrayed the media as the masses ‘ main line of reach  to help clarify the political and electoral decisions of INEC.

The President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr Chris Isigozu, said the media had appreciated hearty discussions with INEC  during and after the elections.

Isigozu praised the commission for performing respectably well, given the assets and length of collaboration with different partners associated with the electoral process.

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