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News Article | May 28, 2015
Site: www.vanguardngr.com

Lagos – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday restrained the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC), from implementing the new electricity tariff which was to take effect from June 1. The Judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, gave the order, in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Toluwani Adebiyi. Idris restrained the NERC and the electricity distribution companies from effecting any increment in electricity tariff pending the hearing and determination of the suit. Adebiyi, who argued the ex-parte application, had urged the court to restrain the NERC and the electricity distribution companies from implementing such plans to avoid further hardship and unjustifiable tariff increment on Nigerians. The  Chairman of NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, had, at a news conference in Abuja, announced plans by the Commission to implement the upward review in electricity tariff from June 1. However, Idris, after entertaining arguments from Adebiyi, ordered the NERC to maintain the status quo of the substantive suit till the hearing of the suit. The judge ordered that the motion and other processes in the suit be served on the NERC. Idris also granted leave to the applicant to serve the originating summons, the affidavit in support, list of exhibits and the written address on the defendant in Abuja, which is outside Lagos judicial division of the Federal High Court. The judge also adjourned the suit to June 11 for hearing. Adebiyi, in the suit, is seeking an order restraining the NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful and significant improvement in power supply at least for 18 hours in a day in most communities in the country. He also wanted an order restraining the NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “the meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat-rate of service not rendered or power not used.” He also wanted the service charge on pre-paid meters not to be enforced until there is visible efficient and reliable power supply like those of foreign countries where the idea of service charge was borrowed. Adebiyi is also asking for an order of the court mandating the NERC to do the needful and generate more power to meet the electricity use of Nigerians. He added that the needful should include and not limited to a multiple long-term financing approach, sourced from the banks, capital market, insurance and other sectors of finance to power the sector. The lawyer is also asking the court to mandate the NERC to make available to all Nigerians, within a reasonable time of maximum of two years, pre-paid meters as a way to stop the throat-cutting indiscriminate estimated bills and which must be devoid of the arbitrary service charge, but only chargeable on power consumed. In an affidavit in support of the suit personally deposed to by the applicant, the lawyer lamented that despite the motto and mission of NERC which were expressly stated as “keeping the light on and to meet the needs of Nigeria for safe, adequate, reliable and affordable electricity”. He said that most communities in Nigeria do not get more than 30 minutes of electricity supply, while the remaining 23 hours and 30 minutes were always without light and in total darkness. (NAN)


News Article | June 16, 2015
Site: www.vanguardngr.com

THREATENED by the usurping of some of its statutory functions, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has described the establishment of the Electricity Management Services Authority, NEMSA, as an unhealthy rivalry, and unsuitable for the country’s fledging power market. In a telephone conversation, Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, told Vanguard that Nigeria’s emerging electricity market is not ready for an unhealthy rivalry amongst regulators. He argued that the establishment of the controversial NEMSA may derail the regulator from its responsibilities to the power sector, as the new agency is a mere duplication of roles. He, therefore urged the government to allow the electricity sector gain the much needed momentum to propel it to the next level of its development rather than seeking to destabilise it with other forms of regulation. Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s signing of the NEMSA Act, has been widely criticised as whittling down the regulatory functions of the NERC. Consequent upon signing the Act on May 26th, the former president granted power to NEMSA to provide technical regulations and inspections in the Nigerian electricity market, thereby usurping the regulatory control hitherto enjoyed by the NERC as enshrined in Section 32 of the Electricity Reform Act 2005. Rushing in defence of the Commission’s capacity to effectively regulate the industry, Amadi said: “The National Electric Power Policy, NEPP 2000, and Electric Power Sector Reform Act, EPSR Act 2005, which are the guiding spirit for the power sector reform unambiguously mandated the Commission as the sole and independent technical and economic regulator of the, Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, 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. “It is not valuable to the system, among all the issues surrounding the sector and the country; I am standing on my point that it is duplication.” Against this backdrop, he maintained that “The new bill is capable of distracting the Commission from its core mandates, causing disharmony and derailing the progress made in the power sector. “NERC has put in place several regulatory instruments to address technical and safety issues arising from across the electricity supply chain.” He therefore insisted that the transparency and independence exhibited by NERC had earned the sector its inherent level of confidence, thereby boosting in the inflow of local and foreign investors into the sector. Competition is good for the industry However, analysts of current developments in the power sector are of the view that competition will promote healthy regulation of operations in the industry.  According to Mr. Odetola Seyi, a United Kingdom based economic analyst, the introduction of NEMSA as a regulatory authority is necessary to check extant gaps in the technical regulation of the electricity industry. He noted that the functions and operational mode of the agency would streamline regulatory roles in such a manner that will ensure that the substandard equipment are not allowed into the country. Also commenting, Mr. Olubunmi Martins, who is also an energy expert, said the introduction of another body to regulate the activities of the power sector is crucial as it would consolidate on the gains recorded in the power sector. He said the decision to set up another regulatory agency is in line with international best practices, adding that the United States also has similar agencies that perform such roles. According to him, “It is important to have a parallel regulatory agency specifically set up to monitor the activities of the operators especially in the area of management oversight and performance.” He argued that oversight monitoring has been lacking in the industry since the sector was fully privatised a couple of years ago. He added that NEMSA will pre-qualify companies that import electricity equipment into the country in order to check sub-standard equipment. By the Act, NEMSA becomes the technical regulator and enforcement institution in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI. Accordingly, it has also taken over the Electricity Inspectorate Service, EIS, a department previously located in the Ministry of Power, which responsibility was transferred to NERC under the ESPRA Act 2005. NEMSA will also acquire the staff and assets of the current Electricity Management Services, EMS Plc, which hitherto served as a utility service provider to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. The agency was constituted to engage in such ancillary services like meter testing amongst others in the sector. Clause 6, Part 2 of the Act contains a list and description of 26 different functions, including: Furthermore, part of NEMSA’s function to “promote measures for advancing the skill of persons engaged in the NESI” is also seen as duplicating the role of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN. Agreeing, the Director General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, Mr. Reuben Okeke , however noted that this aspect “was never mentioned all through the public hearing. It is actually duplication, as NEMSA cannot be involved in capacity development. NAPTIN is an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Power established since 2009 by the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, and registered by the Bureau of Public Entreprises, BPE, specifically for capacity building and training of all workers in EPSI both technical and non-technical.” According to him, “Before the bill was passed into law, there were public hearings from all involved in the power sector. However, the role of the Act is to ensure that the power sector is rid of substandard product that would undermine efficiency in services delivery. “While it shields the sector of that, NAPTIN, on the other hand is saddled with the responsibility to empower personal with the technical know-how of maintaining such assets . Those who would work in the power sector are going to be trained by NAPTIN.” He noted that without the training of personnel, there will be no expertise in the power sector. Admitting that the Act is a necessity, as it will liberate the country from fake equipment, Okeke said: “we are in a country with people who do not care about lasting benefit but immediate enriching of ones pockets despite the effects. As such, NEMSA is strategically placed to ensure that standard equipment are used for electrical installations, and that they also meet international standards.”


News Article | June 16, 2015
Site: www.vanguardngr.com

Federal Government’s call for electricity companies to embrace embedded generation to ensure rapid development got a boost as the Eko Electricity Distribution Plc, EKEDP, said it has concluded plans to acquire up to 474 megawatts of power through embedded generation. It also said that the initiative will double its current allocation from the national grid. The embedded generation programme involves the construction of smaller sized generating plants that is connected to and evacuated through the distribution network infrastructure. The proximity of these smaller sized plants to load centres within various communities is expected to assist EKEDP in alleviating some of the current challenges being experienced by unclogging its transmission grid of bottlenecks amongst other notable issues. According to EKEDP, the programme, which has been submitted to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, for approval will go a long way in alleviating the shortage of power supply from the grid which has been unstable and in recent times. It explained that 50 letters of interest were received from generating companies, out of which 14 companies were adjudged adequate in possessing the technical and commercial capacity to participate in the first phase of the embedded generation programme. The projects are expected to be completed within the next 18-24 months. Speaking on the development, the Managing Director, EKEDP, Mr. Oladele Amoda, said: “With the active support of NERC for our proactive measure, our customers can indeed expect to enjoy the benefits of the privatisation of the power sector.” Apart from the embedded generation plan, EKEDP is also engaged in bilateral negotiations to purchase more power into our network which will bring relief to our consumers in the short term.”


News Article | June 25, 2015
Site: www.vanguardngr.com

Lagos—The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC and electricity distribution companies, DISCOs, have been warned against going ahead with the planned increase in electricity tariff in the country, despite a subsisting order of a Federal High Court, Lagos restraining such increment. A lawyer and plaintiff in the suit, which led to restraining order, Toluwani Adebiyi, said any attempt to increase electricity tariff will amount to a flagrant disrespect of the judiciary and an action aimed at obstructing justice. Adebiyi, in a statement, yesterday, in Lagos, said he was shocked to watch series of interviews on a national television granted by top officials of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, where the said officials advised Nigerians to get ready for electricity increment. “I find that action very disrespectful of the judiciary which is currently adjudicating on a case I filed against the planned increment.  Let me make it categorically clear that I shall not hesitate to file committal application against the Chairman/Chief Executive Officers of both NERC and the distribution companies if the threat of increment is effected. “People must learn to accord the judiciary the needed respect,” Adebiyi said. Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos had in the suit by Adebiyi, restrained NERC and the electricity distribution companies from effecting any increment in electricity tariff pending the hearing and determination of the suit. Adebiyi, in the suit, is seeking an order restraining the NERC from implementing any upward review of electricity tariff without a meaningful and significant improvement in power supply at least for 18 hours in a day in most communities in Nigerian. He also wants an order restraining the NERC from foisting compulsory service charge on pre-paid meters not until “The meters are designed to read charges per second of consumption and not a flat rate of service not rendered or power not used.”


News Article | June 30, 2015
Site: www.vanguardngr.com

ABUJA: The crisis rocking the power sector over the establishment of the Electricity Management Service Limited, EMS, and the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority, NEMSA, has taken a new dimension with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, calling on the Presidency to intervene. The NERC, which had already endorsed the creation of NEMSA as a legitimate Federal Government institute, however queried the creation ofthe Electricity Management Service. The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, speaking on the vexed issue in Abuja, requested the Federal Government to advise it on the relevance of the creation of another electricity regulatory body, which according to him is a duplication of the functions of the Commission. Embattled Amadi told newsmen that, “The Act is clear on what we should do and that is what we are doing. A new government is in power and they have to advise us on what to do. We are an independent commission under government. So at the end of the day, I expect that government will look at the law and take a position.” The NERC however ignored the existence of EMS to appoint 14 new inspectors for the technical sector, which is an overlap with the roles of the EMS. But Amadiargued that even if the new government eventually allow EMS to function, it would not hinder NERC from performing its technical and commercial regulatory roles as enshrined in the Act. He noted that not only did the Commission write a letter to the immediate past President to oppose the creation of EMS; it also opposed it vehemently in the National Assembly. Now that a new government is in power, he said the Commission will adhere to whatever directive it receives on the issue. According to him, “It is on record that NERC opposed it at the National Assembly in a heated debate. “We wrote to the President, and we stated clearly and I believe till today, there is no justification for that. But it is a law, so we will wait for the new government to tell us what to do. Whatever the government tells us, we will do.”

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