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Enugu DisCo invests N1.6bn on network expansion projects

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The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it will spend N1.6 billion on 30 electricity network expansion projects within the South-East.

The Head of Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh said this in a statement on Sunday in Enugu.

Ezeh said that the huge investment covered network expansion projects earmarked for 2020 and 2021.

He said that the historic huge investment showed the EEDC commitment to general improvement in power supply and stability in its franchise area covering the entire South-East.

He said that some of the expansion projects had been completed and inaugurated in 2020; while some were still being constructed and would mature for commissioning later in 2021.

“The EEDC has identified about 30 network expansion projects valued at N1.6 billion for execution within its 2020 and 2021 rolling projects for electricity stability and improvement in the South-East.

“Some of which included: upgrade of Trans-Ekulu Injection Substation in Enugu which increased the capacity from a 15MVA to a 22.5MVA in September, 2020, thereby drastically improving the supply availability to customers served by the substation in Enugu and its environs.

“In 2020, the EEDC also constructed and inaugurated the Ugwuogo 33KV line, which radiates from the New Haven Transmission Station, Enugu terminates at the Nike Lake Injection Substation in Enugu.

“We also got on stream the Onuebonyi 11KV feeder, created from Ochudo 1x15MVA Injection Substation in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State as well as the FUTO 33KV line in Imo State,’’ he said.

Ezeh also said that the company procured 180 units of distribution transformers of different ratings, valued at over N600 million in 2020.

“Some of these brand new power distribution transformers have been deployed across the network as a relief to the overloaded substations and also as replacement for failed ones.

“This is to ensure further stabilised and improved power supply and minimise faults within our networks especially within neighbourhoods and given areas,’’ he said.

The EEDC spokesman said that in 2020, the company deployed Distribution Transformer Meter to all public transformers, as part of initiative aimed at ensuring accurate billing of customers and energy audit at transformer level.

He said that the EEDC also improved its quest in metering all its customers through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) metering scheme.

“This is an arrangement where third-party meter vendors provide prepayment meters for customers as part of efforts to increase the pace of meter deployment to customers,’’ he said.

Ezeh said that the company would continue its asset registration and customer enumeration which are of immense benefit to both the EEDC and its customers.

“This exercise is aimed at facilitating comprehensive metering of all electricity customers; easy identification of all electrical assets and their state; identification of all existing customers; adequate planning for potential customers and network expansion,’’ he said.

Ezeh noted that “the EEDC appreciates her customers for their support throughout 2020, despite the various challenges that characterised the year.”

He said, “with the support of our customers, we were able to make it in 2020. We are hopeful that 2021 will be a better and enjoyable one for us all.

“In 2021, the management of the EEDC is committed to intensifying effort in not only sustaining the already covered grounds, but also ensuring more projects that will further enhance its operations and the service quality to its customers are embarked on and accomplished.”

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Energy

Marketers advocate ethanol as alternative fuel, plan $7bn yearly savings

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The Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria has stated that ethanol could be adopted as a biofuel to help Nigeria in reducing energy poverty and emissions.

According to MEMAN during a recent quarterly press webinar and engagement, about $7.4 billion could be saved annually by taking advantage of Nigeria’s ethanol resources as a biofuel to support petrol.

Ethanol is a biofuel that is commonly used as a substitute or additive to petrol in vehicles. It is typically produced through the fermentation of plant materials like cassava, corn, sugarcane, and others.

MEMAN noted that ethanol blended into biofuel as a transformative energy source has the potential to change Nigeria’s energy landscape and pave the way for a sustainable economy.

Experts, who spoke at the webinar, revealed that Nigeria had what it takes to exploit its ethanol to biofuel potential.

Presenting a paper titled ‘Ethanol as a Biofuel,’ a Senior Consultant with Africa Practice, Agwu Ojowu, pointed out that developing the ethanol industry could save the nation about $7.4bn ba year.

“Nigeria’s cassava production, standing at 63 million metric tonnes annually, represents 26 per cent of the global total. However, with 40 percent of this yield lost each year, there is a significant economic loss estimated at $7.4bn. Developing the ethanol industry could mitigate these losses, enhance economic stability, and capitalise on the depreciating currency to reduce costs,” Ojowu stated.

He emphasised that ethanol’s higher octane rating improves fuel quality and helps meet environmental standards by reducing sulphur content and greenhouse gas emissions.

Those attributes, he said, make ethanol a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to petrol, aligning with Nigeria’s climate commitments.

Going down memory lane, Ojowu recalled that Nigeria’s foray into ethanol began with the 2007 biofuels policy, which mandated a 10 percent ethanol blend in fuel.

“Despite initial challenges, including the suspension of the policy in 2008, because of blending inconsistencies, the potential of ethanol remains significant. Ethanol’s cost-effectiveness compared to petrol has historically led to economic arbitrage, suggesting that a well-regulated biofuel market could be economically advantageous,” he said.

Ojowu added that ethanol presents numerous benefits, including economic, environmental, and agricultural advantages, without necessitating vehicle modifications.

The Executive Secretary of MEMAN, Clement Isong, also emphasised the role of renewable energy in addressing Nigeria’s energy poverty.

He highlighted the importance of diverse energy sources, including biofuels, solar, hydroelectricity, and wind energy, to create a balanced and sustainable energy mix.

“MEMAN is committed to engaging with industry stakeholders to advocate for energy solutions that meet Nigeria’s needs,” Isong said.

He expressed optimism about the future of renewable energy in Nigeria and the continued efforts to enhance press engagement and industry collaboration.

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Energy

Abuja DisCo adds 45 new feeders to Band A

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The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) has disclosed it has added 45 new feeders to the Band A category of customers who would enjoy a minimum of 20 hours of electricity as stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The new feeders are majorly in the Asokoro, Wuye, Garki, Suleja, Apo and other areas of the capital city. This was disclosed by the Disco on their official X (formerly Twitter) page where it described the feeder location and specific areas served by the feeder.

Other areas where feeders were upgraded to band A include; Suleja, Garki Area II, Wuse, Anyigba, Mpape, Jabi, Gwagwalada, Gwarimpa etc.

The DisCo noted that the upgrade to band A for the affected feeder location is effective from June 1, 2024.  Similar upgrades across other DisCos

In April, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced a more than 200 percent increase in electricity tariffs for Band A customers.

This move is part of efforts to eliminate electricity subsidies and implement a cost-reflective tariff system in the power sector.

Abuja Disco’s addition of new feeders to Band A is in line with similar actions by other distribution companies like Eko and Ikeja DisCos following the tariff hike.

Band A customers are on specific feeders that receive a minimum of 20 hours of electricity daily. According to NERC, these customers account for approximately 17 percent of all electricity users in the country.

The decision to raise electricity tariffs for Band A customers has sparked public outrage, particularly among trade and labour unions nationwide.

Organised labour members have protested the increase, while the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised its members not to pay the new tariff, claiming they were not consulted.

MAN has instructed its members to continue paying the old rate of N66/kWh. The various electricity distribution companies have vowed to disconnect customers who fail to pay the new tariff under their band.

The group has also filed a petition with NERC regarding the tariff hike, which is currently awaiting resolution.

Furthermore, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) comprising all chambers of commerce and trade associations across the country had warned that the new tariff could lead to the shutdown of 65 percent of businesses across the country.  The group stated that the over 200 percent hike in electricity tariff to N220/KWh then made Nigeria’s power cost the highest in the world. It warned that the hike could exacerbate the economic situation in the country and push more people into unemployment and poverty.

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Energy

Settlement agreement: NNPC asks court to discontinue lawsuit against Mobil subsidiaries

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has filed a motion to discontinue its lawsuit against Mobil Nigeria subsidiaries and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The motion is aimed at finalizing a settlement agreement for the divestment of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited for $1.28 billion.

NNPC’s legal counsel, Afe Babalola & Co., presented the motion, requesting the court’s permission to withdraw the suit and strike it off the court’s cause list.

The motion cites legal precedents, including the Supreme Court decision in Adama v. Maigari (2019), which supports the relisting of a discontinued suit if the out-of-court settlement fails.

The lawsuit, originally filed by NNPC on July 5, 2022, was referred to arbitration on August 3, 2022.

Recent negotiations have led to an out-of-court settlement decision, with the Settlement Agreement requiring NNPC to withdraw the lawsuit.

The court is currently considering the motion, which, if granted, would pave the way for the parties to complete the settlement and divestment transaction.

No further details have been released, but sources indicate that the settlement agreement includes clauses designed to align the interests of all parties and finalize the transaction.

The development is seen as a significant step towards resolving the longstanding dispute between NNPC, the Mobil subsidiaries, and NUPRC.

Approval of the motion would allow the parties to focus on finalizing the settlement and completing the divestment transaction.

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