POWER SECTOR TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT LAW REFORM COMMITTEE FORUM OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY


There are indications that at last, the seemingly, intractable Power Sector challenges may be addressed through legislation as NILS engage critical stakeholders to find sustainable solutions through the legal and institutional frameworks. This is coming just as Consumers’ protection tops agenda at a Round Table forum organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies.

Speaking during the special session for the review of extant laws governing the Electricity and Power sector, the Director General of NILS, Dr. Ladi Hamalai reiterated the commitment of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly to give priority attention to the power sector.

“The de-industrialization in Nigeria is as a result of state of power supply. Power sector is so important, once we get it fixed, Nigeria will experience rapid, accelerated and sustainable development that would be comparable to developments in other jurisdictions”, She noted.

She charged participants drawn from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Consumer Protection Council, Federal Ministry of Justice, the Academia, the private sector and the NBA, represented by officials at both the national and Abuja branch to come up with fact-based and bankable contributions that would help the National Assembly to carry out amendments or repeal of existing laws, where necessary.

Earlier at the roundtable, a Presiding Judge of the National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, Hon. Justice Ben. Kanyip, in his paper titled, “Legislating Mechanisms for Protecting the Consumer Against Arbitrary Tariff Increment and Other Abuses in the Power Sector”, submitted that solving the problems of the power sector would require an effective synergy of legislation and governance and a conscious effort to exercise and demonstrate political will.

He argued that the EPSR Act 2005 is an all-encompassing Act, promulgated to “provide
For , among others, the development of competitive electricity market; the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC; the licensing, and regulation of the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity; the enforcement of such matters as performance standards, consumer rights and obligations; the determination of tariffs among other matters”.

In her presentation themed, “Improving the Electricity Consumers’ Access to Administrative and Judicial Remedies”, the Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Atoki, called for the immediate abolition of estimated billing and the passage of Competition Law. She also urged DISCOS to scale-up public education and enlightenment. Other proposals include, the need to raise the bar of enforcement, arguing that the penalties are unrealistic with current realities.

These submissions were coming against the backdrop of the celebration of the “Consumers Right’s Day.”