The inadequate regulation and enforcement by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is compounding the crises currently bedevilling Nigeria’s power sector, the Nigerian Society of Engineers declared on Thursday.
Participants at the society’s 52nd National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting observed that the regulatory inefficiency of NERC was a major factor hampering power sector growth.
Explaining the observations contained in the communique of the conference, the President, NSE, Adekunle Mokuolu, told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja that the inadequacy in NERC’s regulation had warranted various forms of excuses by operators in the sector.
“The conference observed that there was inadequate regulation and enforcement by NERC,” he stated.
Mokuolu said the electricity regulator should have been the primary means of solving the sector’s challenges, but noted that happenings in the industry had shown that NERC seemed to be overwhelmed.
He said, “What is the way out? We have Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is regulating everything in the sector, but the variables are so many. That is why we say they are doing something but it is inadequate.”
He stated that the conference further observed that the crisis in Nigeria’s power sector was also due to inadequate infrastructure coupled with NERC’s poor tariff regime.
The NSE president said, “Inadequate commitment among the owners of power generation, distribution and transmission companies has contributed to poor power delivery in the industry.
“Insufficient planning of distribution/transmission and generation infrastructure has led to power infrastructure failures. The use of single buyer model for the electricity industry has also contributed to the market crisis.”
In its recommendations, the society called for the implementation of a cost- reflective tariff, as well as the creation of a special purpose vehicle for improvement, expansion of electricity infrastructure and revenue collection from consumers.
It recommended that the Gencos, Discos and transmission company should only be responsible for operation and maintenance of the facilities, as a long-term plan.
It urged all power sector players to show more patriotism in discharging their responsibilities, adding that the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme should be sustained.
When contacted, the spokesperson for NERC, Usman Arabi, argued that the commission had been carrying out enforcements in areas such as metering and safety, adding that it had mandated Discos to uphold the terms of their licences.
Arabi further stated that NERC threatened to suspend the licences of Discos due to their poor remittances to the market and that the commission had enforced other regulations in the sector.