SSAEAC warns against collapse of power sector over NERC’s minimum remittance order on DisCos

Electricity workers

The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) has warned of imminent collapse of the power sector over Minimum Remittance Orders (MROs) issued to DisCos by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Guardian gathered that the MROs required DisCos to pay 100 percent of Market Operator (MO) Invoice, and a minimum percentage of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) bills without considering the salary of the staff that collected the revenue.
This, the electricity workers argued, was a major oversight that was capable of pulling down the market.
In a letter to the Minister of Power, obtained by The Guardian, the workers warned that the increase was unacceptable, and vowed to withdraw their services if not addressed urgently.

It alleged that the NERC, as the regulator had been docile in facing its responsibilities, and rose to the occasion by issuing orders on minimum remittances by all DisCos.
The union alleged that similar crises had happened in Jos and Kaduna DisCos, and the sector unions reacted to such situations, with obvious consequences as collection dropped.
The letter read in part: “The potential negative impact of this situation is better imagined because a hungry worker will not collect money and return it or be healthy in mind to do his best.

“As a historical insight, salaries and minimum operational costs were treated as first-line charges in the pre-privatisation time, hence the relative higher collection efficiencies of the time.”
To avoid industrial unrest, SSAEAC advised that NERC should verify sector workers’ salaries with a view to guaranteeing timely and full payment by first-line charge principle.
It urged that the regulator should consider adjusting the minimum remittance percentages to accommodate the need for timely and full payment of salaries.
It also urged the NERC to consider setting standard emoluments for the workers to elicit higher productivity in the whole sector.

The letter stated that presently, ancillary service providers (NERC and NBET) earn more than the first-line workers and operators in GenCos, TCN, and DisCos.

Besides, the union said most DisCos are not paying the paltry staff salaries as and when due or even the full amounts.

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