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On Wednesday, the Nigerian Senate passed a new electricity bill.

This bill would give states the opportunity to generate and distribute electricity.

This was a sequel to a report by the Committee on Power.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam of Benue, North-East under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gave a presentation.

According to him, the bill seeks to provide an ideal legal and institutional framework to leverage on the moderate gains of the privatisation phase of the power sector in the country.

However, anyone or firm that is generating electricity below 1 megawatt needs no license to continue generating electricity.

His words in the presentation:

The bill, when signed into law, will open up the space in the power industry and allows states or individuals with capacities to generate their own power and distribute.

Since electricity is on the Concurrent List in the constitution, the bill has allowed state governments to license people who intend to operate mini grid within the state.

The bill also gives legal backing to renewable energy. If you decide to generate one megawatt of power using solar as energy source, that is also provided for.

That is the only way the power problem would be solved. The space is now opened. There is little restriction as to who will generate power and distribute.

What is obtainable now is that any power generated must be put on the national grid for transmission and distribution.

The bill also provides that any power generated below one megawatt does not require license to distribute.

He further added that the bill would improve utilisation of generated power when signed into law.

This would be through increased investments in new technologies to enhance transmission and distribution of generated power to minimise aggregate value chain losses.

The piece of legislation would reinvigorate the Institutional framework for the reform of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) initiated and implemented by the Federal Government.

He, later disclosed that the provisions of the bill will seek to promote and stimulate policies and regulatory measures.

This would ensure the country’s power transmission networks are expanded in order to address imbalances in the existing transmission infrastructure.

It will also scale up more power generation and transmission, and increase the distribution capabilities of the sector.

Besides all, it will address the issues that are responsible for value chain losses such as the technological limitation and outdated infrastructure.

Power: Suswam’s response to the takeover of some Discos by banks

Senator Suswam, moreover, explained the take-over of entities (Discos) by banks.

He said the take-over was duly carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

A transitional process took place during the take-over of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) by the United Bank for Africa (UBA).

This process was to ensure efficiency in service delivery.

Senator Suswam noted that such process usually involves the invitation of new investors to increase generation and distribution capacities.

He, however, disclosed that the Federal Government (FG) had disbursed $100 million to Siemens.

This fund is to kick-start the transmission at the distribution end of the power sector.

Senator Ahmad’s verdict on this

The Senator of Katsina North under the PDP said the Discos are not largely living up to expectations.

He is therefore advising the Federal Government to ensure there is a transparent process in the selection of companies to take over…

…the generation and distribution of power across the country.

Power: The Senate President’s Remark

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan after the passage of the bill, said:

Because of its importance and sensitivity, we would like to see a quick concurrence by the House of Representatives, because time is of essence as far as Nigeria is concerned when you talk about electricity and energy supplies in Nigeria.

So, we would like to see that this bill is fully processed in the National Assembly and sent to the Executive side of government for the consideration for assent by Mr. 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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