OrderPaperToday– The House of Representatives on Thursday urged President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency in the power sector to address inefficiency in generation and distribution of electricity in the country.
The House also mandated its Committee on Power to urgently conduct a public hearing on the current state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution to evaluate the real problems and come up with ideas on how to expand energy sources beyond hydro and gas plants to include coal, solar and other renewable sources of energy.
Furthermore, the House directed its Committee on Power to exercise their over-sight powers by visiting National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other relevant agencies under the Ministry of Power with a view to ensuring absolute compliance with all the provisions of existing laws.
The resolutions were reached during plenary after the House considered a motion of national public importance raised by Mr. Nnolim Nnaji (APC, Enugu) on the poor generating capacity of the power sector which has crippled the agricultural, industrial and current economic development of Nigeria.
Leading debate on the matter, Mr. Nnaji explained that since 1972 when the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was created to generate and distribute electricity in the country, the generating capacity from 4 thermal and 2 hydro plants of 6,200 Megga Watts (MW) has remained unstable, thus exposing consumers to regular power cuts and long period of outages.
He also noted that in 2001, the federal government commenced the reform of the electricity sector with a policy to create an efficient electricity market in preparation to transfer ownership and management of the infrastructure and assets of the electricity industry to the private sector.
According to him, “NEPA’s failure to live up to its mandate necessitated the 2005 Electricity Power Sector Reforms (EPSR) Act that gave birth to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), with powers to regulate the sector, thus NEPA was renamed Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
“In recent years, electricity supply has become very significant owing to the seemingly indispensible role it plays in every facet of our lives. Absence of electricity for long periods causes discomfort and hampers productivity. It is also a known fact that electricity consumption has become a parametre by which the standard of living, as well as the level of industrialisation of a nation, is measured.
“Currently, there is an ongoing failure of the sector to provide adequate electricity supply to domestic households and industrial producers, despite being a rapidly growing economy. Only a limited number of Nigeria’s population is connected to the energy grid whilst power supply difficulties are experienced around the country most of the time. At best, average daily power supply is estimated at 4 hours, although several days can go by without any power at all. We are having a serious decline in power generation, thus the ldea of our great nation generating 2,000 to 3,000 MW or less is highly unacceptable.
“The power supply difficulties cripple the agricultural, industrial and current economic development of Nigeria. The power supply crisis is complex, it stems from a variety of issues that has been ongoing for decades. Most Nigerian businesses and households now resort to diesel-fueled generators to supplement the intermittent power supply. Even some of our manufacturing industries have collapsed whilst some others are now operationally located outside the country, especially in Ghana due to power degeneration,” he stated.
The motion was adopted when the presiding officer put the question with the House further mandating its committees on Power and Legislative Compliance to ensure prompt impiementation of the motion and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.