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NERC not toothless bulldog — Prof. Momoh

NERC, DisCos

…Dismisses NBET’s quasi regulator tale

…Inculcates electricity safety culture among youths

By Chris Ochayi

The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Professor James Momoh, has debunked the insinuation that the Commission’s regulatory mandate in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, has been usurped by some other agencies in the sector.

Professor Momoh, who spoke on the sideline of the maiden edition essay competition in secondary schools initiated by the commission in Abuja, announced that the commission was more than ever before firm in carrying out its duties of regulating the sector towards ensuring robust and steady power supply in the country.

The NERC Chairman, when asked to react to a statement by the Power Generating Companies, GENCOs, which insinuated that the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET, was taking over the duties of the NERC owing to its (NBET) insistence  to go ahead with the implementation of the controversial 0.75% gas invoice charge said the commission is certain on its role.

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According to him, “That is a long story. NBET can’t take the power of NERC. NERC is an institution that is assigned to regulate the power industry. So the government has given NERC their role and other agencies have their role. So ours is non-negotiable.”

There is no controversy; what government has allowed should be done the way it should be done. And we are going to monitor it to be sure it is used for the right reason.

Recall that Dr Joy Ogaji, the Executive Secretary of Association of Power Generating Companies, APGC, the umbrella body of Power Generating Companies, GENCOs, recently lambasted the management of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET for exercising overbearing influence in the sector.

In fact, Dr Ogaji, who seems to overwhelm with unrestricted weight wielded by NBET, described the agency “quasi regulator.”

She said, “NBET has now reduced its role to blackmailing/threatening GENCOs investors/Chairmen who have refused to concede to NBET’s illegal demand of a 0.75% charge on invoices paid to gas suppliers.

“NBET has clearly threatened not to release payments due GENCOs until they accede to NBET’s request, urging them to agree for a quid pro quo with the 0.75% administrative charge.

“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely shed its role as a licensee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role. The entity is almost conducting itself in a manner that suggests that it is above the law.

“This singular action by NBET may lead to the shutdown of power supply by GENCOs, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET.”

Dr Ogaji added that “What Nigerians need to know and be aware in addition, is that this victimisation notwithstanding, NBET’s management has now constituted itself as the Alpha and Omega authority (quasi regulator) that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in Nigeria.

“The situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GENCOs have to plead, lobby, beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC Professor James Momoh has called on young Nigerians to imbibe the culture of safety in the application of electricity.

Prof. Momoh told students during the essay competition organised for secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, initiated NERC to work hard and put their names among inventors as he had made his mark as an inventor in the academic sphere.

He also said that the initiative will not only help to engage the youths meaningfully but also will ensure that the youths discover the hidden ability in them early in life.

“You should work hard in your studies to become one of the inventors as I have my name in prints, this competition is intended to spur you to a greater height in life,” prof Momoh remarked.

The NERC chairman also disclosed that there is a plan to extend the competition to other states of the federation given the impact that the FCT pilot scheme has made.

Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Director NGOs, Federal Capital Territory FCT Secondary School Education Board Mr Yakubu James expressed delight over the initiative of the NERC stating that the Commission gave the Board free hand to examine the students and came up with the best performing candidates among the students.

According to him, “NERC allowed due process in the selection of the students and the WAEC standards was followed in arriving at who won the competition.”

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC has come up with an initiative towards the educational development of young people in relation to electricity matters, introduced an essay competition amongst secondary students. The maiden edition of this Annual Electricity Essay Challenge for Secondary Schools took place in FCT Abuja.

While over 300 schools participated in the competition, the overall winner of the competition went home with N300, 000, second place winner got N200, 000 and the third place was given N150, 000. Also, the consolation price and certificates were awarded to other students.

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