The Senate today, Tuesday, September 28, 2021, passed a Bill for an Act to repeal the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
Sponsor of the Bill, Senator Gabriel Suswan (PDP-Benue) in his lead debate explained that the bill seeks among others, to repeal the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 and therefore contended that the bill also seeks to consolidate all legislations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), as it enacts an omnibus Electricity Act for the industry.
According to him, the Omnibus Act will provide the ideal legal and institutional framework that would guide the post-privatisation phase of the country electricity sector.
The former governor of Benue State also explained that the legislation also seeks to provide the framework that would attract more investors to leverage on the gains of the privatised electricity industry in Nigeria.
When implemented, said Suswan, the bill will accelerate growth in power capacity and improve generation of power through increased investment in new technologies leading to enhanced transmission and distribution of power generated while minimizing aggregate value chain loses.
Suswam declared that in spite of the modest milestones recorded in the Nigerian power sector, the sector has not been able to make electricity available to 75 percent rural population as envisaged in the National Electric Power Policy.
“This is because the sector is currently plagued with a number of challenges some of which are operational constraints that emerged after the privatisation exercise, adding that the bill when passed, would provide the framework for power diversification through the use of cleaner renewable energy sources such as coal, wind, sun and ensure sustainable energy mix.
Senator Suswan stated that the privatised power sector in Nigeria was facing a myriad of post-privatisation challenges including the absence of tariffs, inadequate enumeration, metering of consumers, and limited access to funds for investment.
Other challenges, he pointed out, include high levels of Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC &C) losses and poor revenue generation.
In his word, “All these constraints have received various interventions by the executive and legislative arms of the federal government over the years.
“But these challenges have continued to threaten the viability of successor companies including their financial capacity to invest in network improvement to guarantee reliable power supply as envisaged in their respective Performance Agreement.”
He revealed that apart from the operational constraints confronting the post-privatised power sector in Nigeria, the principal act which was the extant legal framework for the industry has some gaps and shortcomings that made it unsuitable to adequately govern activities of the market operator and market participants.
The former Benue governor maintained that the bill, when passed would provide the framework for power diversification through the use of cleaner renewable energy sources.
He declared, “The bill will also eliminate current barriers to private sector investment across the power value chain and attract the funds needed to address the current funding gaps confronting the industry since the privatisation of the power sector”.
The bill, after passing second reading, was referred to the Committee on Power by President of Senate Ahmad Lawan for further legislative work.
The committee is expected to report back to plenary in four weeks.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.