The Senate Committee on Power paid an oversight visit to the head office of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. The delegation which was led by the Chairman, Senator Gabriel Suswam also sought to know how it could use legislative powers to assist the commission resolve challenges facing it.
Senator Suswam, while commending NERC on the good job its doing, said, the National Assembly is working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to put in place a legal framework that will protect investment in the power sector.
He stated that what is in place currently is a Reform Sector Act which was put together by NASS in 2005 to enable government to privatise electricity entity.
“We have gone beyond privatisation, there has to be an Electricity Act for the country that will touch on the issue of energy theft, how people will be sanctioned and those that bypass meters.
“And it will also create the environment that gives potential investors assurance that their investments are protected.
“Beyond the Reform Act, issues have cropped up that needed to be addressed, so we need a legal framework that will put in place an enabling environment for potential investors to have a sense of protection and NERC is supporting us on this project”, he said.
Senator Gabriel Suswam appealed to NERC to halt the Implementation of the hike in tariff, saying that NASS was not opposed to the proposed increase in electricity tariff, but the timing of the exercise.
He suggested, it is better that the Federal Government takes the burden of the hike instead of Nigerians within the period, as the sector await the activation of the service reflective tariff.
“Within this period, you could have taken some major decisions on the issue of metering which is very central. We at NASS are all informed of the challenges in the sector. So , we say tarry a while to allow Nigerians recover from COVID-19 Pandemic. We will continue to appeal to you and give you all support so that we will not be solving one problem and creating a political problem “.
Earlier the Chairman of NERC, Prof. James Momoh, said there is need to review the Electricity Act and policy of government to make things work.
Momoh disclosed that a mechanism has been put in place to absorb the masses of the impacts of the electricity hike.
“It is not going to affect the poor. We will make sure that the downtrodden and the people you feel for at the moment will not be affected by any increase we will be bringing forth.
“It will be based on the hours of service and the quality of power available there. We don’t want the poor to subsidise the payment of the rich.
“In other words, we must ensure that the poor are not sacrificed in the process of tariff increase”, he concluded.
The Senate Committee on Power then proceeded to inspect the selected Ministry of Power projects located at the University of Abuja and the head office of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The Federal Ministry of Power has provided a dedicated line for the University of Abuja and the EFCC head office to ensure that both entities enjoy a constant electricity supply.
However, the committee expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of work being done on the ongoing dedicated line of the University of Abuja and said a report would be raised to that effect.
The committee members will continue with the oversight visits to government agencies in the power sector tomorrow as they are determined in solving the problems affecting the power sector in Nigeria.