Bill Intended To Address Multi-Layer Problems Besetting Power Sector Passed
The Senate on Wednesday passed a new electricity bill that is intended to address the multi-layer problems that are besetting the power sector.
With this bill, all the legislations concerning the power sector have been consolidated into one document known as “Integration of National Electricity Project” , which when passed to law, would empower stakeholders to review happenings in the power sector every three years .This is intended to identify any anomalies in the sector and corrected
One of the highlights of the bill is that when it becomes an act, it would empower states that have what it takes to generate and distribute electricity to do so.
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC in the new Act, has been strengthened with its power widen. It will now become an independent agency that would be free from unnecessary interference from the government.
The bill’s passage was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Committee on Power.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue North East), in his presentation, said the bill seeks to, amongst others, provide an Ideal legal and institutional framework to leverage on the modest gains of the privatisation phase of the electricity power sector in Nigeria.
He also said anyone or firm generating electricity below one megawatts do not need licence to do so.
He said, “The bill, when signed into law, will open up the space in the power industry and allows states or individuals with capacities to generate their own power and distribute.
“Since electricity is on the Concurrent List in the constitution, the bill has allowed state governments to license people who intend to operate mini grid within the state.
That is the only way the power problem would be solved. The space is now open. There is little restriction as to who will generate power and distribute it.
“What is obtainable now is that any power generated must be put on the national grid for transmission and distribution.
“The bill also provides that any power generated below one megawatt does not require license to distribute.”
He added that when signed into law, the bill would improve utilisation of generated power through increased investments in new technologies to enhance transmission and distribution of generated power to minimise aggregate value chain loses.
According to the lawmaker, the piece of legislation would, “reinvigorate the Institutional framework for the reform of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) initiated and implemented by the Federal Government.”
He disclosed that the provisions of the bill seek to promote policies and regulatory measures that would ensure the expansion of power transmission networks in Nigeria in order to address any imbalance in the existing transmission infrastructure.
The former Benue State governor said that the bill would stimulate policy and regulatory measures to scale up efficient power generation, transmission and distribution capabilities of the sector; as well as address technological limitations and outdated infrastructure that is responsible for value chain losses.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks after the passage of the bill, said, “because of its importance and sensitivity, we would like to see a quick concurrence by the House of Representatives, because time is of the essence as far as Nigeria is concerned when you talk about electricity and energy supplies in Nigeria.
“So, we would like to see that this bill is fully processed in the National Assembly and sent to the Executive side of government for the consideration for assent by Mr. President.