26 June 2015, Abuja – The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take a stand on the creation of a new agency in the industry, the Electricity Management Services Limited.
Amadi made the call at a ceremony in Abuja to announce the appointment of 14 technical inspectors for the electricity industry.
The EMS was created towards the end of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, but Amadi said the mandate of the new agency was in conflict with the work of NERC.
According to him, to allow the EMS to exist will amount to creating two regulators for the electricity industry.
He said for this reason, NERC had remained consistent in opposing the creation of the new agency, adding that it went to the extent of writing the former president to explain the grounds for its opposition.
Amadi said, “The (NERC) Act is clear on what we should do and that is what we are doing. A new government is in power and they have to advise us on what to do. We are an independent commission under the government. So, at the end of the day, I expect that the government will look at the law and take a position.
“It is on record that NERC opposed it (creation of the EMS) at the National Assembly in a heated debate. We wrote to the president and we stated clearly and I believe till today there is no justification for that. It is a law. So we will wait for the new government to tell us what to do. Whatever the government tells us, we will do.
“All over the world, we know clearly that it is wrong to have double regulation, especially when a regulator does its job. Like we say in law, we are an interested party. The law has been assigned but the law has not been operationalised. It is for the government to review and address the parties accordingly.
“Even before NERC was there, the law clearly stipulated that there would be one regulator doing technical and commercial regulations. We see example in Ghana, where attempt was made to divide that jurisdiction and it ended in chaos.”
The EMS has responsibility for specifying technical standards for electricity companies and ensuring that they comply with the standards; a responsibility that NERC says it has the legal duty to perform.
In another development, the European Union has expressed its willingness to lift the Nigerian electricity industry with a grant of €150m.
Speaking at an interactive session with NERC officials, the leader of the EU delegation, Mr. Peter Cameron, said that the team was in the country to assess possible areas that the union could be of assistance in solving Nigeria’s power challenge.
Cameron said that members of the delegation, who had been in the country for some days, spoke with other stakeholders in the sector and was rounding off its consultation with the commission so that it would be properly guided on possible areas of assistance.
Amadi appreciated the EU’s good gesture and listed three major areas of possible intervention as bridging the huge metering gap; helping to solve transmission bottlenecks; and the need for embedded power generation to improve shortage in supply.