Senate ‘ll pass new electricity law in August —Suswam


The Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, has assured Nigerians that the problems associated with the quality of electricity supply in the country would soon be addressed with a legal framework.

He said the Senate was putting together, a comprehensive  Electricity Act in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to tackle the challenges facing the consumers, the suppliers and the regulators.

Suswam stated this when he led the Senate Committee on Power on oversight function to the NERC headquarters and other power installations in the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday.

He said, “The legal framework that we have in place which regulates the power sector, was set up in 2004, just to enable the government to privatize the sector.

“Now we’ve gone beyond privatisation,  and there has to be an electricity act for the country.

“The Act, which should be ready in August, will set a legal framework that would touch on the issue of energy theft, and the sanctions against those who bypass meters.

” It will also give potential investors  to come and invest in Nigeria   knowing that the legal framework for the country’s power sector protects them.”

The Senator said the electricity distribution companies operating in the country had acceded to the appeal by the National Assembly to suspend their planned tariff hike, which should have started in August.

He said, “The Act that established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission gave it the power to make sure it carries out tariff reviews.

“To a large extent they have done that but we now find ourselves in a difficult economic situation at the moment.

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“By their own programme, the distribution companies are supposed to activate tariff increase by the first of July this year but the National Assembly appealed to them to tarry a while so that Nigerians could recover from the economic shock before they can activate the tariff.

“As difficult as it was, they were able to accede to our appeal and that is why the tariff increase activation has not kicked off.

“That is not to say that it will not be increased eventually because the only way the sector can become liquid is for the proper tariff to be charged and for all consumers to have meters.

“The DISCOs respected us because they know the burden that Nigerians are passing through.”

Senate Committee on Power on oversight function to the National Electricity Regulation Commission.

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NERC, Prof. James Momoh, said the electricity sector in Nigeria requires $2.1bn to provide additional infrastructure to boost supply, bring in investors and improve the quality of life.

He noted that the infrastructure in the sector had deteriorated with obsolete equipment capable of generating 13, 000 megawatts installed power capacity.

He lamented that only 5,000 mgw generated was available for distribution by the DISCOs.

He stressed the need for the country to invest in modern infrastructure to improve the supply because  Nigeria would in 25 years, require 17, 703 mgw.

Momoh said, “We are putting strategies in place to service effective tariff to ensure that customers are not cheated in tariff increase.

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“We are also going to ensure that the ease of doing business is emphasized and supported.  We are also promoting local content to make sure that there is Metre for all electricity consumers in Nigeria.

“We are working with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that there is every home in the country.

“We are on the same page with the National Assembly on a regulation that would ensure transparency and effectiveness,” he added.


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