*NERC begins public enlightenment
23 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has kicked against a notice of force majeure issued by electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to the Federal Government, describing it as “premature”.
According to NERC, it is too early for such declaration over the Eligible Customer regulations.
Earlier in the year, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, declared that eligible customers are free to buy electricity directly from power generation companies as against buying from DisCos.
On Nov 1, NERC proceeded to sign the Eligible Customer Regulation, likewise issuing a guideline and regulation to enforce the policy.
In response, some discos declared force majeure on political and policy ground, claiming changes to the Electric Power Sector Reform, EPSR Act.
The Force majeure is an unexpected circumstance that may prevent a party from abiding by a written contractual obligation to another party.
However, in a couple of tweets by NERC on Wednesday quoting its Commissioner, Legal Licensing & Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, said the commission “is watching as events unfold” between the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and DisCos.
“Declaration of the eligible customer has not in any way altered the provisions of EPSR Act and will not warrant a declaration of force majeure by the Discos,” Akpeneye added.
The Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh had also on Tuesday, condemned the notice of force majeure by the DisCos.
In a letter to the DisCos, Okoh rejected the claim that there had been changes in law and political force majeure event pursuant to certain clauses in the Performance Agreement which the core investors in the DisCos signed with the BPE.
On Monday in Abuja, BPE’s Head, Public Commission, Chukwuma Nwokoh, also rejected the notice by DisCos to declare force majeure.
Meanwhile, NERC on Wednesday began its tour of radio stations as a prelude to enlightenment talks.
The Commission’s move to enlighten the public on issues in the power sector, came on the heels of directive agreed upon at the last power sector’s National Electricity Committee, NEC’s meeting, that NERC begins nationwide sensitisation programmes using various social media platforms.
The radio awareness programme led by NERC’s Commissioners, Musiliu Oseni and Moses Arigu alongside the Assistant General Manager Customer Service Standard, Shittu Shaibu, kick-started at Radio 1 Lagos.