Industry leaders, executives, and stakeholders in the power sector have said that the Electricity Act 2023 can be the building block towards combating climate change and accelerating renewable energy push.
They also commended the Act and proposed further key amendments to enhance the legislative framework.
This was done at the 14th edition of its Annual Power and Utilities Roundtable, with the theme “The Electricity Act 2023: Powering Nigeria” hosted by PricewaterCooper (PwC) Nigeria, in Lagos.
Commenting, Pedro Omontuemhen, partner and energy, utilities and resources leader, PwC Nigeria, noted that: “The Electricity Act can play a pivotal role in addressing this challenge by guiding balancing the utilisation of our natural resources with the reduction of carbon emissions while showing how we can generate, transmit, and distribute adequate power to meet Nigeria’s energy needs.”
Noting further that “discussions at the roundtable have shown that power sector stakeholders welcome the Electricity Act as a good step, especially for consolidating the laws governing the Nigerian electricity supply industry and establishing a policy framework that empowers state governments and investors.
“However, there is more to be done to enhance the legislation and make it more responsive to the realities of industry practitioners. In this regard, it is crucial for the Act to provide the policy framework necessary to implement practical solutions to address the metering gap.”
In his keynote address, Bimbola Banjo, partner and finance advisory leader, PwC Nigeria, applauded the transformative impact of the Electricity Act 2023, which has paved the way for state governments to actively participate in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity without causing significant overlap of the federal government’s overarching role in the sector.
He elaborated on the key provisions of the Act, including the separation of distribution from supply operations, incentivising renewable energy, the positioning of NERC as the apex regulator, the establishment of the Power Consumer Assistance Fund (PCAF), state government’s adoption of the Electricity Act, the establishment of N-HYPPADEC, and the definition of offences and penalties.
Banjo further noted that: “While there is an urgency to adopt the Electricity Act, states must exercise caution and assess their readiness for implementation. The process of adoption will incur significant costs, including engaging legal and commercial advisors, and will require substantial investments in technology, human resources, and the establishment of state-level structures.
“Before proceeding, states should conduct a comprehensive evaluation of their electricity market and network infrastructure, accompanied by detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. This rigorous assessment will ensure that states are adequately prepared to implement the Electricity Act effectively and reap its full benefits.”
The Electricity Act fosters collaboration among various stakeholders, including state governments and federal government ministries. These partnerships and active state participation will lead to positive outcomes, such as the establishment of suitable investment vehicles, effective fundraising strategies, robust enforcement mechanisms, and enhanced knowledge exchange.
Razaq Obe, the commissioner for energy and mineral resources, Government of Ondo State, noted that the Electricity Act has already started fostering collaborations in the sector. For example, there’s a forum of state commissioners for energy, which is a first in Nigeria’s history. He indicated the willingness of state governments to continue to collaborate to enhance the implementation of the Electricity Act.
Addressing the misconception surrounding reluctance to provide meters, Folake Soetan emphasised that DisCos, despite facing cost challenges, believe in the benefits of metering for improved revenue collection.
She stressed that DisCos are actively seeking collaborations with various stakeholders to increase meter deployment for their customers. The collaboration between DisCOs and state governments to deter energy theft will be key to achieving the Electricity Act’s objectives.