By Musa Baba Adamu
The Senate through its Committee on Power, expressed dismay on the abysmal performance of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Mass Metering Project in the country, despite N33.4 billion already released by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Verdict of poor performance slammed on NERC by the Committee, came from assessment made on the project at an interactive session with NERC officials and representatives of the various Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) at the Senate wing of the National Assembly on Thursday.
The project which targets one million metering of houses across the country between October 2020 and April 2021, as stated by the NERC Chairman, Engineer Sanusi Garba, has only recorded 13% implementation as at 19th of March 2021.
According to him, “while. N403, 000 out of the targeted one million meters, have been delivered to the various DISCOs, only 127, 000 have been installed, representing 13% performance”.
He however, attributed the poor performance to delay in disbursement of fund , the chunk of which he said was made available to the DISCOs in February this year.
“Target performance duration for the project which is phase one, entailing metering of one million houses across the country in reducing the metering deficit of 6.5 million , is six months , that is from October 2020 to April 2021.
“Though out of the N59.2 billion earmarked for it , N33.4 billion has been released to the various DISCOs by the Central Bank of Nigeria but disbursement of the releases were very slow which resulted in many of them, accessing the fund in February.
“This largely contributed to the poor performance percentage by the DISCOs for now, on the National Mass Metering project .
“But with chunk of the funds available to the DISCOs now, the implementation performance index will rise astronomically within the next few weeks”, he said.
Apparently not impressed by the NERC Chairman’s performance report, the entire members of the committee headed by Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), one after the other, lampooned the Commission and the DISCOs for poor performance.
First to express his displeasure, was the Committee Chairman, Gabriel Suswam, who said based on the poor performance recorded so far , essence of intervention made by the federal government with the N59.2billion loan may not be achieved.
“Your performance report on the mass Metering project is not impressive and encouraging at all.
“Nigerians are not happy that with all efforts being made by the federal government to get get electricity consumption metered , are being thwarted in one way or the other.
“Estimated Billings is not acceptable and that is the reason why the intervention was made.
“In the light of this, this Committee will want your Commission and the DISCOs to appear before it again by the end of next month , to see whether the assurance given on better performance will be done or not”, he said.
Virtually all the members of the Committee from Senators Abubakar Kyari (APC Borno North), Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC Taraba Central), Kola Balogun (PDP Oyo South) etc, scored the commission and the DISCOs very low on performance report given.
But the NERC Chairman assured the Committee of better performance in the coming weeks.
“All comments made are well noted and will gear us for increase performance ‘ he said.