Power: Lawmakers demand NERC suspends planned tariff hike

*Nigeria's House of Representatives.

*Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

*As Agency issues Ibom Plant expanded generation licence

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

06 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives yesterday directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to suspend any planned hike in electricity tariff pending investigations into the activities of Electricity Distribution Companies, Discos, regarding infrastructure and billing.

The House Adhoc Committee in charge of the investigation has also summoned officials of the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and NERC, to provide details of the commercial terms of the sold Discos.

Committee officials expect to be briefed on the Discos’ plans on recovery of
investment, as well as details of consumer indebtedness, outstanding credits due to consumers, problems and prospects in the industry, and any other information they deem relevant to assist the committee in its assignment.

The Adhoc Committee, headed by Hon. Babajimi Benson, has the mandate to determine the methodology used in verifying investments claimed by the Discos, as well as the billing process.

It is also expected to find evidence that NERC is performing its functions appropriately and in the interest of Nigeria customers, evidence of consumer satisfaction, challenges and problems faced by NERC in carrying out its functions and justification for the proposed tariff increase.

Meanwhile, NERC on Thursday issued an expanded electricity generation licence to Ibom Power Plant to increase its current generation capacity from 190 megawatts (MW) to 685MW.

Ibom Power, which is a wholly owned company of the government of Akwa Ibom State, is already generating and transmitting power into the national grid from its three gas turbines: GT-1 which generates 39MW; GT-2-41MW and GT-3-126MW – from 2009.

The plant, according to its Managing Director, Victor Udo, has a pre-designed generation capacity of 685MW, which the government has now approached the NERC for an expanded license to develop.

Connected to the national grid through the 46 kilometre 132kV double circuit transmission line that runs from Ikot Abasi to Eket, the plant hooks up with an associated sub-station in Ikot Abasi which steps down its power to flow into both 33kV and 11kV distribution lines for onward distribution to local industrial and private consumers.

It is reported that this transmission line also has the capacity to transmit up to 200MW of power and as well enough to evacuate the amount of electricity generated from the plants first phase of 190MW before new upgrades are done for the evacuation of the 685MW phase two.

Also, natural gas feed-stock to the plant is gotten from Septa Energy’s integrated gas receiving facility which reportedly feeds the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) Odukpani and Alaoji power plants, as well as other commercial end users along the supply route.

The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom said while receiving the expanded license from the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi in Abuja, that the state also plans to develop an embedded electricity generation outfit to feed industries that would operate in its planned industrial district.

Udom noted that the State had begun the process to expand the plant in 2014, adding that the potentials in the expansion was realised from the existing 190MW which it currently generates.

He added that the government would in this regard work with the regulatory commission to bring the expansion to fruition, saying that NERC had overtime lent to it great institutional supports in developing the project.

“I want to start by saying thank you to NERC for this partnership. I don’t want to sound as if I am trying to flatter them but believe me if all government agencies are adopting this business approach to achieving results, speed, efficiency and delivery will be much more exciting than we use to have in the past,” Udom stated.

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