NEMSA Bill, A Step in Wrong Direction

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Amadi

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Sam Amadi, chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, insists that the proposed Nigeria Electricity Management Services Bill, will serve no useful purpose because it is intended to duplicate the responsibilities of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Sep. 1, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

NIGERIA’s Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, is not lacking adequate technical regulation despite the non-passage of the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Authority, NEMSA, Bill by National Assembly. This is the position of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC. As proposed by its sponsors, the controversial Bill seeks to convert the Electricity Management Services Plc into an authority that would be saddled with technical regulation of NESI. For now, that responsibility is statutorily covered by the NERC in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, EPSR, 2005.

The NERC’s declaration on August 19, in Abuja came on the heels of recent claims by advocates for NEMSA that the commission lacked the capacity to regulate technical operations in the NESI, hence the need to have NEMSA to work side-by-side with it in regulating the sector. If passed and accented to, NEMSA would work with the NERC as a parallel regulator of Nigeria’s electricity market. The development has not gone down well with operators in the sector.

Sam Amadi, chairman of the NERC, said at the formal presentation of the commission’s health and safety code which is to be used by operators in NESI, that such claims of technical shortfall in NESI were untrue considering the number of technical regulations and codes it had developed to for the market.

Amadi explained that Nigeria’s emerging electricity market was not ready for such unhealthy development and that such duplication amounted to attempts to derail the regulator from its responsibilities to the sector. He requested the proponents of the NEMSA Bill to allow the electricity sector to gain the much needed momentum to propel it to the next level of its development rather than seeking to destabilise it.

“The National Electric Power Policy (NEPP 2000) and EPSR 2005, which are the guiding spirit for the power sector reform, unambiguously mandates the commission as the sole and independent technical and economic regulator of the NESI. At this point, I must correct the wrong impression being created by some people that there is no effective technical regulation of the NESI. This wicked misinformation is aimed at distracting the commission from its core mandates, causing disharmony and derailing the progress made in the power sector. I would like to categorically state here that there is no gap whatsoever in technical regulation in the NESI as is being alleged. The commission has put in place several regulatory instruments to address technical and safety issues arising from across the electricity supply chain,” he said.

The chairman equally stated that the transparency and independence of the regulator had earned the sector its inherent level of confidence, adding: “It is this confidence that is boosting large inflow of local and foreign investors. While pleading with all the relevant stakeholders in the NESI to roll up their sleeves to work, Amadi said: “It should be understood that the development of an effective and efficient electricity market that would provide safe, adequate, reliable and affordable electricity to Nigerians is hard work. It therefore requires commitment, competence, doggedness and focus.”

Speaking on extant technical regulations developed by it for the sector, Amadi said that apart from the just commissioned health and safety code which seeks to henceforth push for a zero accident rate in operations within NESI, the commission has also developed codes for operation of the grid and distribution networks as well as metering code, regulation on embedded generation and the soon-to-be launched Nigerian Electricity Supply and Installation Standards, NESIS, regulations.

The NERC noted that the health and safety code was developed in collaboration with a renowned United States consulting firm, Princeton Energy Resources International, PERI, through a special grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency, USTDA.

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