Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Senate passes Electricity Bill amidst national grid collapse

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Senate on Wednesday, passed the Electricity Bill 2022, following the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Power.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the development is coming a few hours after the National Grid suffered another system collapse, resulting in a blackout in some parts of the country.

On Wednesday, of all the distribution companies, only the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, recorded 40MW at that material time with others recording 0MW.

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Gabriel Suswam in his presentation, said the bill sought to among others, provide an Ideal legal and institutional framework to leverage on the modest gains of the privatisation phase of the electricity power sector in Nigeria.

He said that when signed into law, the bill would improve utilisation of generated power through increased investments in new technologies to enhance transmission and distribution of generated power to minimise aggregate value chain loses.

According to the lawmaker, the piece of legislation will reinvigorate the institutional framework for the reform of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, initiated and implemented by the Federal Government.

Mr Suswam disclosed that the provisions of the bill sought to promote policies and regulatory measures that would ensure the expansion of power transmission networks in Nigeria in order to address any imbalance in the existing transmission infrastructure.

He noted that the bill would stimulate policy and regulatory measures to scale up efficient power generation, transmission and distribution capabilities of the sector; as well as address technological limitations and outdated infrastructure that were responsible for value chain loses.

The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, midway through consideration of the bill, sought to know the role and operational capacity of banks that had taken over Distribution Companies, DISCOs, indebted to them.

Responding, Mr Suswam explained that the take-over of entities, DISCOs, by banks was duly carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE.

According to him, there is a transitional process put in place during the take-over of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, by the United Bank for Africa, UBA, to ensure efficiency in service delivery.

He noted that such transitional process usually involved the invitation of new investors to scale up generation and distribution capacities.

Mr Suswam further disclosed that the Federal Government had disbursed 100 million dollars to Siemens to kickstart transmission in the distribution end of the power sector.

On his part, Ahmad Babba-Kaita (PDP-Katsina), said the faulty way in which DISCOs were created was largely responsible for their inability to live up to expectations.

He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to ensure a transparent process in the selection of companies to take-over power generation and distribution across the country.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi noted that the aspect of renewable energy in the bill was given prominence amidst the energy mix.

The Electricity Bill, 2022, after a clause-by-clause consideration of the committee’s report by the Committee of the Whole, was passed by the upper chamber.

In his remarks, Mr Lawan said that “because of its importance and sensitivity, we will like to see a quick concurrence by the House of Representatives.

“This is because time is of essence as far as Nigeria is concerned when you talk about electricity and energy supplies in Nigeria.

“So, we will like to see that this bill is fully processed in the National Assembly and sent to the Executive arm of government for consideration and assent by the  President.

“We believe that this piece of legislation can change the fortunes of the electricity industry in Nigeria for the better.”


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