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REA Holds Roundtable Meetings With Power Project Developers Under The Energizing Economies Initiative For Effective Service Delivery

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REA Holds Roundtable Meetings With Power Project Developers Under The Energizing Economies Initiative For Effective Service Delivery

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Rural Electrification Agency held a roundtable meeting with Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) Private Power Developers at the Corporate Headquarters on March 24, 2022.

Discussions at the roundtable were centered on identifying implementation gaps, improving service delivery, and strengthening the initiative to achieve the desired goal of providing constant and reliable electricity in economic clusters across the Federation.

The Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) is a Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) initiative being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The focus of the EEI is to electrify economic clusters in Nigeria – which include markets, shopping plazas/complexes, and industrial clusters in line with the FGN’s goal of increasing electricity access.

The REA is mandated to implement the initiative through Technical Assistance to private project developers; this includes identification and audit of economic clusters, facilitation of engagement with key stakeholders, and technical support for project development and operation. Over 300 clusters have been identified for electrification across the country in different phases. So far, over 12,000 shops are now receiving clean, safe, reliable, and affordable electricity supply.

At launch, the Pilot Phase of the Energizing Economies Initiative has commissioned the Sura Shopping Complex Independent Power Project in Lagos State powering 1,047 shops, as well as the Ariaria International Market (Independent Power Project), Aba, Abia State, powering over 4,000 shops.

REA Holds Roundtable Meetings With Power Project Developers Under The Energizing Economies Initiative For Effective Service Delivery

Also, launched were over 6,000 energized shops at Sabon Gari market, Kano State with more connections in the pipeline. The EEI developers were sufficiently represented at the Roundtable, with representatives from Ariaria International Market Energy Solutions (AMES) Limited, Solad Integrated Power Solutions Limited, Rensource Energy Limited, and Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited all present at the REA.

In the course of discussions at the Roundtable, the setbacks faced by the Private Developers as stated by their representatives include; technical and legal solutions to customer bypass, funding constraints, gas unavailability, power shortage, and system collapse due to system capacity, inadequate provision of metering, electricity vending system issues, and challenges with customer service delivery.

The Agency while acknowledging the challenges faced by the Developers, reiterated the need for them to deliver on their obligations as enshrined in their bilateral and tripartite agreements. It emphasized that some obligations are not being met by the Developers in view of the performance of their projects. In addition, some of these challenges are externally induced (such as gas availability constraints). However, many of these challenges are within the Developer’s control and they must do more to mitigate these and get their projects back on track.

The Agency advised the Developers to strengthen their communication culture by proactively updating their customers on key information and/or technical issues in order to keep their stakeholders up-to-date, per time.

While responding to the challenges raised by the Agency, the private developers agreed to step up towards ensuring the issues are addressed and services improved in all affected markets, while such efforts will further serve as mitigation measures in upcoming EEI projects.

The REA pointed out that it is currently conducting Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Exercise on the EEI Markets. The output of the work will help inform REA on how best to support the initiative as well as existing projects.

The Federal Government is keen on the success of the initiative and the REA plans to create an enabling environment where the Private Sector Developer handles all the project delivery steps from inception to conclusion. Deployment is currently ongoing in markets under Phase 1 of the EEI. In 2019, a Tripartite Agreement between Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Green Village Electricity (GVE), and Wuse Market Association was signed for the development of 1MW Interconnected Mini-grid.

The Phase 2 rollout plans are currently in view and conversations have begun between the Developers, State Governments, and other key stakeholders. Baseline Surveys and Energy Audits are currently being conducted for 98 Markets across the country. The Agency is also exploring ways to secure concessionary finance and Technical Assistance to further support EEI Developers.REA Holds Roundatable Meetings With Power Project Developers Under The Energizing Economies Initiative For Effective Service Delivery

ABOUT REA: Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), under the Federal Ministry of Power, tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities with the aim to catalyze economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians.

The REA is currently administering the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and implementing the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) and a number of initiatives in furtherance of its mandate: Energizing Education Programme (EEP), Grid Extension (Capital Projects), Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI), Solar Power Naija Programme, Energy for All – ‘Mass Rural Electrification’ and Research and Innovation Hub.

The Agency is responsible for creating an enabling environment for private sector-led projects, which include conducting pre-feasibility assessments, energy audits, enumeration, data analysis, identification of qualified private sector developers, and project stakeholder engagements and community engagements for awareness creation.

To give effect to some of its initiatives, REA has obtained financing amounting to $550 million ($350 million from the World Bank and $200 million from the African Development Bank) for financing the Nigeria Electrification Project, and an additional $11 million for financing the Rural Electrification Fund for the deployment of Solar hybrid mini-grids and solar home systems. These funds will ensure that millions of Nigerians have access to clean, safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

For further information please contact the Rural Electrification Agency (info@rea.gov.ng)

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Eko Disco Assures Lagos Island Communities, Others Of Electrical Equipment For Improved Power Supply

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Eko Disco Assures Lagos Island Communities, And Others Of Electrical Equipment For Improved Power Supply

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) took its town hall meeting to Islands District on Thursday to further its strategic engagement with customers under its franchise network. Held at the Virgin Rose Resorts in Victoria Island, the forum was attended by residents of Lagos Island, Victoria Island, and Ikoyi environs.

According to a statement by the EKEDC General Manager, Corporate Communications, Godwin Idemudia, the Island District is strategic to our business, hence the importance of the engagement forum to help the Management to identify areas of improving power supply to the customers.

While commending EKEDC for the recent improvement of power supply and turnaround time to clearing faults, the customers at the meeting raised the issue of old and overloaded distribution infrastructure affecting supply in their communities. Many residents from Lagos Island complained about the faults as a result of weak underground cables and overloaded transformers and thus requested solutions from DisCo.

Eko Disco Assures Lagos Island Communities, And Others Of Electrical Equipment For Improved Power Supply
Left-Right: Divisional Crime Officer of Ikoyi Police Divisional Headquarters, Mr. Ishola Olaitan; EKEDC Chief Commercial Officer, Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh; Chairman, Odunfa Feeder Lagos Island, Pastor Odunloye Abisoye; and EKEDC Islands District Manager, Mr. Hakeem Fashola at the Customer Engagement Forum by the Disco on Thursday in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Reacting to the customers’ queries, the MD/CEO of EKEDC, Dr. Tinuade Sanda, represented by the Chief Commercial Officer, Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh, appreciated the customers’ feedback and explained that the presence of weak and old cables in the network was due to construction of buildings on such cables, which has made it difficult to carry out repairs. She however stated that EKEDC is devising alternative means to mitigate this challenge. Concerning the issue of the overloaded transformers, she assured the customers that the company, as part of its continuous improvements projects is working on providing relief distribution transformers to many areas under the Islands District.

The Divisional Crime Officer of Ikoyi Police Divisional Headquarters, Mr. Ishola Olaitan, explained to customers at the forum that the spate of vandalism in Ikoyi and Lagos Island also contributes to the damage of cables. He called on the customers to aid the Police Force and EKEDC in curbing the crime by reporting to the Police or EKEDC via its whistleblower platforms.

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BEDC: AGF Is Wrong That Ex Parte Order Expires By Effluxion Of Time

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BEDC Assures Stakeholders Of Restoration Of Board, Management

Court of Appeal in DEUX PROJECTS LIMITED & 3 ORS V. ACCESS BANK PLC – APPEAL NO. CA/LAG/CV/1342/2019

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The legal opinion purportedly issued by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami on the alleged refusal of the Managing Director of Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, to vacate office is unfortunate and inconsistent with position of the law.

It is doubtful if such a legal opinion could emanate from the office of the AGF in view of the decision of the Court of Appeal in DEUX PROJECTS LIMITED & 3 ORS V. ACCESS BANK PLC – APPEAL NO. CA/LAG/CV/1342/2019 delivered on 14/12/2020 at page pages 25 – 26 of the judgment where the court held that an ex parte order of the Federal High Court does not expire by effluxion of time until the court so pronounces.

According to the Court of Appeal judgment, per Balkisu Bello Aliyu JCA, it is for the judge to still determine whether the ex parte order granted by him has expired and until such pronouncement is made, the order remains extant and binding.

The rationale behind the decision of the Court of Appeal cited above is to prevent anarchy and lawlessness where a party to a suit may unilaterally declare an ex parte order as having expired and take the law into his own hands.

The said statement credited to Mr. Malami describing a court order as having expired is based on ignorance of the decision of the Coury of Appeal earlier cited which represents the current position of the law. The order of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2022 was granted by the court pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. The Attorney General of the Federation has no judicial powers to declare a court order expired by any provision of the law.

The opinion credited to the AGF is on a matter adjourned for hearing and to come up on the 5th day of October 2022. Neither party to the proceedings nor the office of the AGF can nullify the order of the court on the ground that it had expired. Would that opinion be a justification for the Bureau of Public Enterprises to again invade with force the offices of BEDC and illegally sack Mrs. Osibodu from office?

In the first place, what legal authority did the Bureau of Public Enterprises have to sack the management of a company of which the government has only 40%? A government that has no judicial order or judgment to invade business premises by force is tantamount to what the Supreme Court described as executive lawlessness in Ojukwu v. Governor of Lagos State.

It is on record that the National Electricity Regulatory Commission and BPE did not obtain any court order before unilaterally announcing the dissolution of a company board in which the Federal Government is a minority shareholder. Even if the FGN were to be a majority shareholder, it cannot unilaterally dissolve the Board except where permitted by law.

It is advised that the office of the Honourable Attorney General, of the Federation, should desist from promoting lawlessness if the opinion really emanated from his office.

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Lawmakers Knock TCN Over Inability To Explain Power Generation, Summon MD

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Lawmakers Knock TCN Over Inability To Explain Power Generation, Summon MD

…Allege three persons committed Nigerians to $33m monthly payment for Azura power deal

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance yesterday frowned at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) officials over their inability to explain the megawatts of electricity being generated by Power Generation Companies (GenCos), particularly the Azura power company.

The committee chaired by Hon. James Faleke (APC, Lagos) also picked holes in the $33 million being paid monthly to Azura, lamenting that two or three persons might have sat down to commit Nigeria to a such an agreement without commensurate value for money.

The federal government had signed a series of agreements with Azura — namely the power purchase agreement (PPA) on April 22, 2013, the put/call options agreement (PCOA) on October 22, 2014 and the PCOA “direct agreement” on December 18, 2014, with a clause that the federal government would “take or pay” for power generated as declared by Azura, “whether or not it is taken by the government-owned transmission company.”

The Committee currently investigating the proposed sale of the Nigerian Integrated Power Project (NIPP) had at the investigative hearing last week, with the Managing Director of NBET, Nnaemeka Eweluka, TCN, and Federal Inland Revenue Service lamented that Nigerians do not get value for the huge sum of money they are paying.

At the resumed investigative hearing, the lawmakers while expressing concerns about the erratic power supply in the country, lampooned the three Directors from TCN, warning that their seats were in danger for failing to represent Nigerians.

Faleke who accused the TCN officials of not being ready to tell Nigerians the truth said the officials were trying to twist issues relating to power generation by Azura power company

According to him, the TCN ought to know the number of electricity megawatts consumed per day.

Faleke said, “I am not confused. Transmission Company of Nigeria, first your MD took permission, according to you, to see the minister rather than coming to explain to Nigerians and to clarify issues. Market operator, if I understood your earlier statement that they have not been producing up to the 450 that was signed and they have justification for not producing up to that, in that case, will you say as a Nigerian that they have violated the agreement they signed?

“What you are telling Nigerians generally is that from the position you hold and being paid by taxpayers, you are not representing Nigerians and that your seat is already in danger.

“That is what you are telling Nigerians because you cannot even take an informed decision when it is necessary to take decisions on behalf of Nigerians. That is exactly what you have just exhibited.

“Why you are here before us was because you evacuate the power produced by Generating Companies, not only Azura. NBET was here on Friday and they will still be here tomorrow or so. So, it is not closed.

“We are only asking you from your own function as an evacuator of power, what power you have been evacuating from a 450megawwats generation company. We have not gone into other power generation companies. We have just picked one – not one.

“And do you know why we are concerned? We are concerned that Nigerians are willing to set up industries but there is no power, yet we are paying huge sums of money. This is just the issue, nothing more; not witch hunting. It is not about TCN; it is about Nigeria. So, all the questions that I have for TCN, I have to reserve them until your MD is here.

“There are other vital questions that this committee will want to ask. When the MD is seated, we will ask. Whatever position we have found ourselves, we are just opportune amongst 200 million people.”

Corroborating Faleke’s statement, another member of the Committee, Hon. Taiwo Oluga said, “If it is your document and we are arguing on it, whether it is megawatts or it is in kilowatts, an agreement has been signed on behalf of Nigerians in megawatts. Now you are presenting documents to the House in kilowatts/hour. So, Mr. Chairman, I will want to say that maybe these documents, should be re-present while we expect the chief executive to come and explain to Nigerians why $33m will be paid (to Azura) every month, yet we are not getting results.”

Another lawmaker, Hon. John Dyegh suggested that they submit the documents presented TCN to a consultant for a proper analysis.

The TCN Directors, Mr. Victor Adewumi, Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, Engr Edmond Eje, Director Market Operations, and Mr. Ogwu Benedict, in charge of Agreement, had in their presentations said Azura was supposed to generate 450 Megawatt and most of the time its generally lower.

In his ruling, Faleke summoned the Managing Director of TCN, Sule Abdulaziz, to appear before it unfailingly today August 23 2022.

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