The Minister of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Electricity Management Services Ltd (EMSL) yesterday differed on the creation of an agency to carry out an electrical inspection in the market.
This was due to the presentation made by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali at the National Assembly that the ministry committees had recommended the creation of an agency to do electrical inspection in the market- a development that NERC and EMSL said they were not consulted for inputs.
Dr. Igali while presenting the Ministry’s standpoint on the passage of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority (NEMSA) bill at the joint hearing held at the National Assembly, said a committee was set up to harmonise overlapping issues between the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the EMSL and that the committee report was evaluated by another technical committee before recommendations were made.
Submitting the reports, Igali cited the recommendations to include addressing overlap issues in the bill, create a separate entity for office of the inspector aside the regulator, and backed by law; the MD EMSL to doubling as the Chief Electrical Inspector (CEI).
However, NERC Chairman, Dr Sam Amadi at the hearing said the Commission was not consulted by the ministry for any input before the recommendations. “NERC doesn’t think there is 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 NERC and EMSL to get their inputs,” he said.
Amadi also said creating the agency whose liabilities to the privatised companies were not fathomed in the existing tariff may increase the cost of doing business for investors.
Managing Director of the EMSL, Engr. Peter Ewesor asserted that it was not summoned by the committee for inputs but noted that having an electricity inspector will enhance great electrical safety measures for operators and consumer operators.
He said, “We have also made moves to meet NERC to address overlap issues through courtesy visits in the past.”
Former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji said an agency for inspection is crucial in power sector reform. He however said, “Having an authority to carry out this task is not necessary, but we can have an agency to do it.”
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) at the hearing stated that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 did not create any agency but companies registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 1999.