Electricity Bill to Boost Edo’s Participation in Power Market, Improve Supply, Says NGF Consultant

Peter Uzoho

A Technical Consultant to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Power and the Chief Executive Officer of New Hampshire Capital Limited, Mr. Odion Omonfoman has said the passage of the Edo Electricity Bill would arm the state with the constitutional and legal rights to play active roles in the nation’s power sector.

The Edo State House of Assembly recently passed a bill to make provision for the state to take part in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to improve power supply to the residents and businesses in the state.

In a statement obtained by THISDAY, yesterday, Omonfoman, who commended the Edo State House of Assembly for its timely passage of this very important bill, said the bill was in line with the recently amended provisions of section 14(b) of the concurrent legislative list within the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The new law grants state Houses of Assembly the right to make laws guiding electricity generation, transmission and distribution within a state.

While the constitutional alteration and amendment processes are yet to be concluded, the NGF consultant noted that it was heartening to note that Edo State Government under Governor Godwin Obaseki has proactively taken steps to make relevant state laws that deepen true federalism within Nigeria, and ensure that citizens and businesses within the state enjoy reliable public electricity supply.

“When signed into law as an Act, the bill will give the Edo State Government the constitutional and legal rights to set up a State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) that would regulate the electricity sector within Edo State.

“It will empower the state to license and operate electricity market structures for the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity within Edo State, license state-owned power generation plants and/or private Independent Power Plants (IPP) that will generate electricity within Edo State, provided these IPPs are not connected to the national grid,” Omonfoman said.

He maintained that the bill would also empower the state to license, own, operate and manage transmission and distribution infrastructure within the state and its boundaries and set wholesale and retail electricity tariffs for the state licensed entities operating within the Edo electricity market.

According to him, “While the impact of the bill to the common man may not be immediate, the Edo State electricity bill, when implemented, will positively transform economic and social activities within the state.

“The bill will also attract significant local and foreign investments into the state, as well as create direct and indirect jobs.”

He added that the first and most important step in implementing the bill when signed into law would be for the state government to establish the Edo State Electricity Regulatory Commission and the establishment of a market-driven independent regulatory framework for the state electricity market.

Omonfoman pointed out that a market-based regulatory framework was imperative and necessary for the development of a viable and sustainable electricity market within Edo.

Consequently, he said the Edo State Government must ensure that the regulatory commission was composed of experts and professionals that have a market-driven approach to electricity regulations and reforms.

He further opined that the management and personnel of the state electricity regulator would be people, who fully understand the role effective regulations will play in developing the nascent the state’s electricity market, and also attract the right private sector investors and project developers.

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