All on-going power projects will be completed – Fashola

Hon . Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN(2nd left) Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited(NDPHC), Mr Chiedu Ugbo(2nd right) Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Dr Abubakar Atiku (right)Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Moses Frank Ekpo(left),MD/ CEO, Cartlark International Ltd, Engr. Maryam Akanmode inspecting the Control Room shortly after the commissioning of the NIPP 330KV Switching Station by the Federal Government through the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State

The Federal Government says it will ensure  the completion of  on-going power  projects designed to improve  electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the country in no distant time.

The Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, announced the  government’s position while inaugurating the new National Commissioners for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)  in Abuja on Tuesday.

Following  the  exit  of the Chairman and former commissioners of NERC in December 2015, the  acting Chairman of the commission had carried on with the activities of the agency without  national commissioners as required  by law.

The Chairman-designate of NERC, Prof. Akintunde Akinwande, had  rejected his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, as he did not  present himself  for screening at the Senate.

The Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 states that NERC shall have seven full time commissioners appointed by the President and  subject  to  confirmation  by  the  Senate.

To this end,  Fashola said even though government was committed to completing the projects, the bulk of activities in the power sector would hence forth be private sector dominated.

“The first thing to emphasise is that the power sector has been privatised.

“This process occurred and was concluded in November 2013 and has resulted in the vesting of majority of power generation and power distribution in the hands of private owners.

“So for the avoidance of doubt, power is now in private hands, and government is now largely a policy maker and regulator.“

He said  that  the  policy  aspect  in the sector was domiciled with the ministry, while the NERC was saddled with the responsibility of regulating the value chain operators.

“Regulation is the work of NERC, acting through the commissioners we inaugurated today.

“So for all those seeking licence to generate power, to build coal and solar plants, and all other similar proposals, your letters should go to NERC, not to the ministry although you can copy us for information.“

The minster also urged people with issues on metering  and other challenges like estimated billing, customer service issues to direct  their complaints to NERC.

Fashola said that the selection of the new commissioners was in line with  the extant laws governing the sector.

He said that their appointment was meant to provide stability in government’s regulatory action and institution building to the sector.

Fashola urged the new commissioners to be  business oriented  in their regulation, while also showcasing  firmness and fairness in their regulatory activities .

“Remember that regulations are rules and rules are made for us; we are not made for the rules.

“ Regulate with the understanding that the industry is young, in transition and needs support.

The six national commissioners inaugurated included the Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Sanusi Garba,  representing North West; Nathan Rogers Shatti, North East.

Others awere Dr. Moses Arigu, North Central; Dafe Akpedeye, South-South; Prof. Frank Okafor, South-East, and Dr. Musilliu Oseni, South West.