The Federal government has inaugurated new commissioners for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja today without a chairman for the agency.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of Power, Works and Housing inaugurated the commissioners February 7, in Abuja and they were conducted round the offices of the agency by officials of the agency.
While the tenure of the former commissioners ended in December 2015, the Federal government has dithered sending replacements, leaving Tony Akah, to act as a sole administrator of the agency, albeit in acting capacity, an aberration to the law setting up the agency.
The Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 stipulates that NERC shall have seven full time commissioners appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate who will assist the Chairman in dispensing his duties.
The EPSRA further mandated the President to designate one of the commissioners as chairman, who would be the chief executive and accounting officer of the commission.
In October 2016, president Buhari forwarded the name of Akintunde Akinwande, a professor at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology to the senate for confirmation but was unable to obtain clearance from his employers before he was due to be screened by the senate.
Nearly four months later, the President has not sent any other name to the senate for screening stalling important policy decisions including the draft of the Mini grid regulations since October 2016.
The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, in its weekly publication had announced that the NERC commissioners would be inaugurated by the minister today on February 7.
“The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission commissioners will be inaugurated by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday, February 7, 2017,” the ministry stated.
The non appointment of a NERC chairman has spurred condemnation from different segments of the society.
Last year, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), called Buhari’s attention to the deplorable state of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) “because of huge violations of rights of electricity consumers” which they ascribe among other things the absence of a chairman.
NERC has operated been operating since December 21, 2015 when the Sam Amadi-led management tenure ended without a Chairman and Commissioners.
The commission is presently headed by Anthony Akah as the acting Chief Executive, a position which industry analysts say is not recognised by the EPSR Act 2005.