Since its second reading and consequent release to the public, Nigeria’s proposed electricity bill has become a subject of debate by most public and private sector stakeholders in the Nigerian electricity sector.
Despite going through a rigorous process during its introduction at the Senate, the governors of the 36 states of the Federation on Monday objected to the proposed bill, describing the draft copy being considered by the Senators as unconstitutional.
Here are major highlights of the bill:
More power to the minister
Section 5(b) of the proposed electricity bill states that Nigeria’s minister of power would be responsible for the determination, formulation and monitoring of government policy for the Nigerian electricity supply industry and perform the following functions including other functions assigned to him under this Bill and other Acts of the National Assembly.
The bill added that Nigeria’s minister of power shall exercise general supervision over the affairs and operations of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and agencies established under this Bill, “and for this purpose give general and specific policy direction including directions on overall system planning and coordination to the Commission or agencies established under this Bill, which the Commission or the agencies shall take into consideration in discharging their respective functions.”
National Integrated Electricity Policy
Section 3 (1) states that the Ministry of Power shall within one year from the commencement of this Act, prepare and publish in a Federal Gazette, an Integrated National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan in consultation with relevant Government Authorities and other stakeholders to guide the overall development of the electric power sector in Nigeria.
Section 4 (1) added that the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan approved by the Federal Executive Council pursuant to the provision of Section 3 of this Bill would be reviewed or revised in consultation with relevant Government Authorities and other stakeholders at least every five years or within such a reasonable timeframe.
The sub-section (2) states that the Implementation Plan would be initiated, formulated, deliberated upon, and adopted by the Ministry of Power in accordance with the provisions of the Bill.
Section 6 (1) of the proposed electoral bill states that the National Assembly shall exercise oversight responsibility over the National Electricity supply industry through its respective Committees on Power in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 6 (2) added that the oversight responsibility of the National Assembly shall apply notwithstanding the supervisory powers of any government Ministry over government-owned enterprises such as Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company plc, Transmission Company of Nigeria plc (TCN) or other entities operating in the Nigerian electricity supply industry in which government has not divested its equity holdings, and irrespective of the Ministry where such entities are placed for administrative supervision by the Ministry.
Incorporation and licensing of independent system operator
The proposed bill mandates the TCN to issue licenses to Independent System Operators. The license will cover the new entity to Operator to carry out such market and system operation functions as stipulated under this Bill.
The proposed bill states that anyone may construct, own or operate an undertaking for generating electricity not exceeding 1 megawatt (MW) in aggregate at a site or an undertaking for distribution for electricity with a capacity not exceeding 100 kilowatts (Kw) in aggregate at a site, or such other capacity as the Commission may determine from time to time, without a license.