A group, the All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s displeasure with the performance of the power sector is an indictment on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The group advised the president to scrap NERC, which is the power sector regulator and move its responsibilities to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
Its National Coordinator, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
NAN reports that Buhari had in a television interview on Wednesday said he was not happy with the state of electricity in Nigeria.
The president said no country could develop without infrastructure means; road, rail and power.
He, had also questioned the financial and technical competencies of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) inherited by the administration.
Power generation in the country still hovers below 5,000MW despite the 13,000MW installed capacity.
However, Samuel-Ilori noted that the buck stops on the table of the president who should demonstrate sufficient political will to rejig the power sector in the interest of national development.
He said: “Our advice to the president is to scrap NERC for not living up to its responsibilities of regulating the industry.
“The government should put the sector under the supervision of the FCCPC which had in recent times shown that it had what required to protect the interest of Nigerians.
“If we have a regulator that cannot only bark but can bite, all the stakeholders in the electricity value-chain, especially the DisCos, will sit up.”
Samuel-Ilori noted that the DisCos had for several years ignored NERC’s directives without sanctions, which had encouraged impunity in the sector.
He said for instance, NERC’s order on capping of Estimated Billing was not obeyed by some DisCos, compelling the All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum to institute a suit against NERC and the DisCos before an Ikeja High Court.
According to him, the Meter Assets Providers (MAP) scheme also stipulates a 10-day period for customers to be metered after making payment but some of the Discos are not adhering to the directive.
Samuel-Ilori decried the slow pace of metering of electricity customers across the country, adding that Nigerians should be allowed to procure their meters directly from any source by the DisCos.
He said this would help to close the metering gap in the country while also reducing estimated billing and exploitation of Nigerians by the DisCos.
Samuel-Ilori said the DisCos also rejected supply from the Transmission Company of Nigeria due to their distribution capacities leading to loss of revenue for the sector.
He noted that the government missed the chance to review the privatisation exercise in 2018, which could have led to the revocation of licenses of some DisCos.
Samuel-Ilori said: “We are in the ninth year after the privatisation of the power sector and Nigerians can still not boast of stable power supply.
“Like the president said, the financial and technical competencies of some of the DisCos are questionable but what the government should have done is to review their licenses according to the agreement.
“By failing to do it at that time and with a one year extension (2019), there is not much that can be done now in that regard except to wait
till it gets to 10 years, which will be in 2023.” (NAN)