Nigeria: Govt to add 1,206MW to national grid from solar energy

*Solar panels harnessing energy of the sun to produce electricity.

*Solar panels harnessing the energy of the sun to produce electricity.

*As CPC wants Discos to end estimated billing for electricity consumers

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

16 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola yesterday said plans have reached the final stage to add extra 1,206 megawatts (Mw) of electricity to the national grid from renewable energy sources.

Fashola said the power would be generated through the concluded 14 frameworks for solar panel projects embarked upon by the Federal Government.

He spoke during a meeting with a French delegation headed by France Minister of Environment and Power, Mrs. Segolene Royal, alongside her Nigerian counterpart, Amina Mohammed in Abuja.

Fashola said the present administration is committed to adopting renewable energy as part of efforts to convert the nation’s numerous challenges to opportunities.

According to him, it became necessary to provide adequate incentives in terms of cost to make solar power more attractive and efficient to the people.

“As you mentioned, we are vulnerable today as a nation facing a loss of our territorial areas to desert encroachment in the north, a lot of erosion in the eastern part of the country, rising water levels and coastal challenges in the southern part of the country. Perhaps, I doubt if there is any country that has such mixture challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, has thrown its weight behind electricity consumers, insisting that those who have not been metered have the right to contest a bill presented to them.

CPC Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, stated this in Abuja yesterday during a press briefing to announce the programmes for the World Consumer Rights Day. While the international consumer movement has enlisted to focus on “Antibiotic Resistance”, the nation’s apex consumer protection agency is adopting the theme: “Consumer Beware! Antibiotic Resistance Can Kill.”

As part of its efforts to address some of the electricity consumers’ concerns, Atoki stated that the Council, working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, had resolved to enforce the mandatory 60 days timeline to Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), to provide meters to consumers who have elected to procure such under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme.

She added that at the expiration of the 60-day timeline, the Discos would lose the right to bill or disconnect consumers’ electricity source. Apart from that, the CPC boss noted that electricity consumers who had not been metered also reserved the right to reject any bill presented to them.

According to Atoki, “Consumers, who have not been metered have a right to contest a bill and opt to pay the last undisputed bill. “As a result, the Council will stand with consumers, who in line with NERC guidelines decided not to pay a disputed bill, including consumers under the CAPMI scheme who refuse to be bullied or disconnected after 60 days of not being provided with meters.”

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