The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Monday received the regulations guiding the Eligible Customer policy in the electricity sector with an appeal to members of the public to always take seriously the consultations and Stakeholder notices being issued from time to time by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
In his remarks after the formal presentation of the document, Eligible Customer Regulations 2017, to him by Engr. Sanusi Garba, the NERC Vice Chairman, Fashola said such consultations were necessary as decisions taken thereafter would affect both members of the public and consumers as well as stakeholders in the sector.
Citing an example with the Eligible Consumer Regulations just presented, the Minister, who noted that the regulations came by consulting with as many people as possible who will be affected by it and the declaration which he made, pointed out that while the DisCos would be affected in terms of potential revenue impact, consumers would be affected with regards to how they could possibly build distribution assets and how they would get compensated.
“Members of the public must, therefore, understand that whether it is tariff setting, whether it is Eligible Customer declaration, NERC works, first by consultation, before it makes decisions so that all interests are carried as much as possible”, he said adding, “I want to use this opportunity to say that whenever consultation notices, stakeholder notices are issued by NERC, members of the public should take them seriously”.
Describing the regulations as “a very important rule”, Fashola, who said it has been much awaited, added, “It will help us to improve the capacity for electricity distribution to consumers who need them; consumers also who are willing to make investments in providing distribution assets in a way that it then helps them to recover their costs and so on and so forth”.
“But I will like members of the public to know that the process of making these rules did not come by sitting in the office. It came by consulting with as many people as possible who will be affected by the regulations and by the declaration that I have made; and I know that DisCos will be affected in terms of potential revenue impact and I believe that this has been taken care of in the regulation”, he said.
The Minister, who also described the Eligible Customer Regulations as one of the steps in furtherance of the Power Sector Recovery Programme, declared, “This will assist the distribution end when it becomes implementable, the metering programme when the regulations come, when approved, the settlement of DisCo debts, MDA debts and solving the liquidity problem”, adding that everything being done in response to the power value chain was a step to the furtherance of the PSRP.
Commending the NERC Management for its efforts in the production of the Regulations, the Minister expressed delight at the presentation promising to familiarize himself with the document and appealing to the Commission to upload the document on its website for the benefit of the public as well as share with the Ministry “so that all the agencies of government can help you to propagate and advertise this”.
He, however, called on the Commission to speed up work on the regulation on Meter, adding, “Much as we welcome this (Eligible Customer Regulation), I think the regulation that everybody is waiting for is the regulation on Meter. It will be a good thing if you can complete that before this month is over and let us see then how quickly that can stimulate licensing of meter suppliers”.
In his own remarks before presenting 10 copies of the document to the Minister, the NERC Vice Chairman, Engr. Sanusi Garba, recalled that after the declaration of the Eligible Customer policy in May and the modifications in October this year, the Commission constituted a Committee which made consultations through the six geopolitical zones of the country adding that the Commission took as much of the recommendations possible to cover the larger interest of the people.
He said in arriving at its final position, the Commission benefitted from the technical advisory support from the USAID because, according to him, “We needed to leverage on the experiences of other emerging economies in the area of Eligible Customers”, adding on November 1, the Commission received the report from its Committee from which the Commission compiled the Regulations.
While the Minister was joined at the event, which took place at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mabushi, by top officials of the Ministry, including the Permanent Secretary, Power, Engnr. Louis Edozien, the Interim Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr Usman Gur Mohammed, Directors and Special Advisers. On the side of NERC, aside the Vice Chairman were Dr Moses Arigu, the Commissioner for Consumer Affair; Prof. Frank Okafor, Commissioner for Engineering Performance and Monitoring; Mr Musiliu Oseni, Commissioner for Planning , Research and Strategy; and Dr Usman Arabi, Head Public Affairs Department.