29 October 2014, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday contested the recommendation of the Federal Ministry of Power to create an agency that would carry out electrical inspection in the privatised power sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, during a public hearing at the National Assembly, stated that various committees of the ministry had recommended that the Electricity Management Services Limited be created to inspect electrical installations and equipment.
Igali, while presenting the ministry’s position on the passage of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority Bill, said a committee was set up to harmonise the overlapping issues between the NERC and the EMSL.
He noted that the committee’s report was evaluated by another technical committee before the final recommendations were made.
Igali listed some of the recommendations to include steps to address overlapping issues in the bill, creation of a separate entity for office of the inspector aside the regulator, and making the managing director of the EMSL to double as the chief electrical inspector.
However, the NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, argued that the commission was not consulted by the ministry for any input before the recommendations were made.
“NERC doesn’t think there is a need to establish this agency as proposed. The ministry never spoke to NERC; we had no input on their reports. The committee should have consulted both the NERC and EMSL to get their inputs,” he said.
Amadi also said creating the agency, whose liabilities to the privatised companies are not fathomed in the existing tariff, might warrant an increase in the cost of doing business for power investors.
The Managing Director, EMSL, Mr. Peter Ewesor, said although the firm was not summoned by the committee for inputs, the significance of an electricity inspector in the new power market could not be overemphasised.
He said the company would ensure great electrical safety measures for operators and consumers.
“We had also made moves to meet NERC to address overlapping issues through courtesy visits in the past,” Ewesor said.
Supporting the creation of an electricity inspector, a former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, said the EMSL had vital roles to play in the power sector reform.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises stated that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 did not create any agency.
The BPE maintained that there were previous contractual agreements signed by investors in the sector and that bringing in a new agency would increase the cost of doing business due to the multiplicity of agencies in the electricity market.
– The Punch