By Etuka Sunday
Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) said that the current leadership of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has committed infractions against competition, consumer protection and the authority of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, therefore, should be dissolved.
APPA is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the main objective to analyze public policies to ascertain if their implementation outcomes meet the objectives for which they were put in place, identify challenges against the realization of public policy objectives and come up with advocacy activities meant to correct wrong actions that hinder realization of public policy goals and objectives.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, the National President, APPA, Comrade Princewill Okorie said, if the current leadership of NERC is not dissolved, it would continue to abuse the rights of Nigerians.
“We have analysed electricity governance with focus on enforcement of provisions of Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), 2005, and discovered infractions and violations of consumer protection, competition and authority of the Minister for Power by NERC.
“…We are calling for the dissolution of the current leadership of NERC. If not, it will continue to abuse the rights of Nigerians,” he said.
APPA rejected the order given to some licensed Independent Electricity Distribution Networks (IEDN) such as cummings and PIPP LVI DisCo by NERC.
It said, the order to PIPP LVI DisCo for immediate suspension of electricity to consumers in Lagos, payment of compensation to Eko DisCo for loss of revenue for each day electricity was supplied to the customers, fine in accordance with section 75 of EPSRA the sum of N10,000 for each day that electricity was supplied to the customers was wrong.
It said, the same order was given to Cummins Power Generation Nigeria Limited (CPGNL): immediate suspension of electricity supply to Nigerian Carton and Packaging Manufacturing Company Ltd (NICAPACO), Ilupeju, Lagos and fine of N10, 000 per day in accordance with section 75 of EPSRA from the date of commencement of supply of electricity to NICAPACO contrary to the terms and conditions of its off grid generation license till the date of compliance with the order.
The Association said, relying on the Power of the Minister for Power as provided in section 24 (2) (3) 24 and 26 (2) and (3) and 33 (1) the minister on 9th July, 2018 at a press briefing directed that NERC should stop DisCos from supplying consumers whom the DisCos cannot supply and to license such persons subject to terms and conditions in order to “promote competition and private sector participation,” and avoid a private monopoly of power.
It said, the minister in giving this policy directive further explained that section 71 (6) dealing with terms and conditions of licenses clearly shows that no exclusivity or monopoly was intended for a license holder such as GenCos and DisCos.
It said, its “research revealed that Eko DisCo wrote petition against PIPP dated 13th June, 2018 accusing the company of encroachment and damage of exiting property of EKEDC. Also, Ikeja Electricity Plc (IE) petitioned against CPGNL, NERC through a petition dated 9th August, 2018, on grounds of network encroachment and tempering with distribution infrastructure.
“We observed that there was no serious action by way of committee was set up by NERC to enforce the directives of the Minister in charge of power issued on 9th July, 2018. Surprisingly, NERC inaugurated Technical Investigation Team (TIT) to investigate the petition of Eko and Ikeja DisCos against the independent Electricity Distribution Networks whom the minister referred to as entrepreneurs that have come to replace multiple, inefficient, unhealthy and expensive generators with simple efficient and environment friendly solutions and meters.
“The action of NERC when viewed side by side with the above sections of EPSRA 2005, clearly reveals the partial disregard for the authority, office of the minister of power against monopoly in the power sector, promotion of national interest and consumer satisfaction.”
The association, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and other stakeholders to monitor NERC closely so as to prevent further infractions.