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PROF. OKAFOR: THERE MUST BE A POLICY TO TRANSMIT POWER AT THE CHEAPEST RATE

(Last Updated On: March 29, 2017)

By James, Michael Igiri

 

By James, Michael Igiri

Experts have reached a conclusion that for the economic growth challenge in Nigeria to be resolved, the electricity supply for the industry must be fixed.

The view as expressed by a foremost Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and commissioner, Engineering Standards and Safety Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. (Prof.) I.N. Okafor during the 2017 public lecture organized by The Nigerian Academy of Engineering, with the title, “Improving Electricity Power Sector Performance: The Role of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission”.

“Electricity is the live wire of modern existence”. Economic growth theories have discovered a direct correlation between a country’s electric load growth rate and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Little surprise that the United States of America consumes well over one billion, one hundred thousand megawatts of electric power while Nigeria struggle with about five thousand megawatts. It follows therefore that for the economic growth challenge in Nigeria to be resolved, the electricity supply industry must be fixed.

The former head of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department gave a brief historical trajectory of the power sector saying that the Vertically Integrated Utility (VIU) called National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was unbundled in 2005 to create 18 successor companies (6 Gencos and 11 Discos) which are meant to be privatised except one, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

With the passing into law of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act by the National Assembly in 2005, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was inaugurated on the 1st  of November, 2005, with the sole responsibility to regulate activities in the power sector including tariff regimes. In 2007, NERC promulgated the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) aimed at providing economic tariff that will attract investment to the power sector.

Prof. Okafor further itemized some of the challenges in the Nigeria  electricity supply industry including issues of cost reflective tariff, effective regulation, market liquidity and debts, power evacuation constraints and load rejection.

He however stated that regulatory steps are being taken to ensure sector sustainability and improvement. These include: monetary and evaluation measures – operational performance, customer service, metering, billing and revenue collection and financial performance, -design and manage cost reflective electricity tariffs, enforcement, integration of renewable energy