Electricity regulatory bodies differ on service management bill

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and the Electricity Management Services Limited, EMS, on Tuesday held differing views on a Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority.

At a public hearing on the proposed Bill in Abuja organized by a joint Committee on Power and Judiciary of the Senate, the two agencies canvassed different opinions on the proposed law.

The Bill seeks to establish NEMSA, which would be saddled with the responsibility of enforcing technical standards and regulation, among other things, in the electricity distribution services.

NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi, had told the committee that if the Bill was passed, it would impact negatively on the sector and derail the power reform programme.

“The Bill proposing the establishment of NEMSA is in conflict with the purpose of establishing the company as provided in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2005,” Mr. Amadi said.

According to Mr. Amadi, the establishment of the agency would amount to duplicity of responsibilities and attendant high costs of overhead, adding that investors and the public would perceive government as inconsistent with its policies for establishing the agency.

He said the establishment of the Agency would create regulatory uncertainty in the market as to which body was statutorily empowered to regulate safety and standards.

NEMSA’s establishment, he said, has the potential of undoing the reforms in the power sector.

The NERC boss accused the Ministry of Power of not involving the Commission when it constituted the committee on the Bill.

He said that it was wrong for two agencies of government to discuss a matter concerning their functions without a common position.

But the managing director of EMS, Peter Ewesor, said the Bill implied giving statutory backing to what was already in place.

According to Mr. Ewesor, the EMS was a government agency saddled with the responsibility of inspecting, testing and certificating electrical appliances and installations.

He said that failure to enact the proposed Act would lead to inefficiency, poor service delivery and incompetence on the part of the regulator.

Mr. Ewesor told the committee that the establishment of the agency would not increase overhead as being canvassed by NERC.

On his part, Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, who supported the Bill, said that it was aimed at adding value to the power sector and transformation agenda of government.

The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Godknows Igali, urged NERC and EMS to work together for better service delivery in the sector.

Other Agencies that made presentation at the hearing were Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON.

(NAN)

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