Delta, Ekiti, Edo, Ondo Seek Shareholder’s Rights in Benin Disco

Delta, Ekiti, Edo, Ondo Seek Shareholder’s Rights in Benin Disco

Peter Uzoho with agency report

Edo, Delta, Ondo, and Ekiti state governments have informed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of their intention to exercise shareholder’s rights in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The state governments noted that the decision is to ensure the efficient supply of electricity to citizens.

This, according to Premium Times, was disclosed in a letter dated March 18, 2024, and addressed to the Executive Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba.
The letter was jointly signed by the Commissioner for Energy in Delta State, Jerry Ehiwairor; the Commissioner for Mining and Energy in Edo State, Enaholo Ojeifoh; the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities in Ekiti State, Mobolaji Aluko; and the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources in Ondo State, Razaq Obe.

 The officials signed the letter on behalf of the state governments.
A copy of the letter titled: ‘Notification of intent to exercise shareholder rights in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC),’ was also sent to the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu; Chairman, Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), Shamsuddeen Usman; Director General, Nigeria Governors’ Forum; Chairman, Senate Committee on Power; and Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Power.

“We write to formally inform the NERC (the Commission) of the intent of the governments of Delta State, Edo State, Ekiti State, and Ondo State (the BEDC State Governments) regarding our collective residual equity in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).

“After a thorough evaluation of the operational deficiencies and service delivery failures to our states, the BEDC state governments intend to exercise our shareholder rights in BEDC, to ensure the efficient provision of electricity services to our citizens,” the letter reads in part.
The state governments said the provision of reliable electricity to enhance the welfare and development of people is a core priority of the government.

“As such, we cannot afford to overlook the critical importance of ensuring that electricity distribution services provided by BEDC meet the needs and expectations of our populace henceforth,” the letter reads.

The state governments explained that in exercising their shareholder rights, they intend to actively participate in the decision-making processes of BEDC, both at the board and management levels of the company, to strengthen operations of the company and enhance service delivery, improve operational efficiency, increase electricity access to unserved and underserved communities, and ultimately, transform the electricity sector within the states.

“Please note that our demand is not capricious and merely wishes to correct a historical lapse. We wish to emphasize that at no point did the BEDC State government give any Power of Attorney (PoA) to either the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOF) or the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) concerning our shareholding in the PHCN successor Benin Electricity Distribution Company, or the post-privatized entity.

“It has come to our notice that the commission intends to exercise a regulatory takeover of BEDC by March 31, 2024. The commission is kindly requested to formally notify the BEDC State governments before taking any regulatory action to appoint new directors and a management team for the company.

 “We also urge the commission to immediately commence the process of unbundling BEDC into its operational areas along state boundaries,” it said.

The state governments further assured the commission of their support and cooperation in exercising any regulatory action against BEDC and its core investor, provided their rights as shareholders in the company are not breached.

Lastly, the state governments requested a meeting with the commission to discuss its intention as outlined in the letter in order “to exercise our rights in the company to work out how these rights will be exercised under the commission’s regulatory oversight and for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.”

President Bola Tinubu had in June last year assented to the electricity bill, which authorises states, companies, and individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.

The new electricity law repeals the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), which was signed by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005.

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