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Delegates Call for Urgent Action to Salvage Power Sector

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The National Conference monday called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector as part of strategies to arrest the deteriorating state of electricity supply in the country.

While voting on recommendations of the Committee on Energy chaired by former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rasheed Ladoja, the delegates directed owners of the privatised power compaines to work hard to improve power supply within the next two years.

As a matter of urgency, the conference recommended that government should take measures to review the current national electric power policy to make the sector more result-oriented.

Similarly, the conference demanded for full implementation of the provisions of the Electric Power Reform Act, but advised that government should not leave it to the private sector alone but should also have a stake in how it is operated.

It further recommended that the issue of power sector should be on the concurrent list, while rejecting the call for the reversal of the privatisation of the generation sub-sector of the electricity industry.

Delegates voted in support of an amendment giving power sector companies a two-year time frame to drastically improve power supply in the country. The conference also approved the building of mini refineries in all the states of the federation

The proposal initially generated heated debates when some delegates opposed the provision for only Niger Delta region until a compromise was reached that it should be established in all the states.

The Deputy Chairman of the conference, Pro. Bolaji Akinyemi who moderated the evening session of the plenary, had a hectic time controlling the outbursts of some of the delegates.

Other major recommendations approved by the conference include: that the Petroleum Act of 1969 be reviewed, a total ban on gas flaring and that all companies involved production must end gas flaring by 2014, and that government should ensure independent metering of oil production by companies.

The conference voted that all new non associated gas produced in Nigeria be reserved for domestic market till such a time that domestic demand is satisfied and prices ripe for export.

However, the former minister of petroleum and traditional ruler of Nembe, Chief Edmund Dakoru cautioned against the conference recommendations, saying the country could loose two-thirds of its oil production volume if the no gas flare policy is to be adopted.

As a form of environmental intervention, the conference directed that pollution tax should be imposed on revenues of oil companies and to ensure that the pollution tax be used to remediate the environment of the local communities.

The conference also urged government t to ensure local development of the spare parts and all materials needed by the Nigerian electricity supply industry and that Nigerian engineers should be adequately involved in the development of the power sector.

The Committee on Energy chaired by Ladoja, had recommended a review of the privatisation process carried out by the federal government in the electricity sector saying the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act 2005 should be amended.

The executive summary of the committee's final report was debated during plenary. It said, "Following the decay in the power sector starting from the mid-1980s, government decided to embark on power sector reforms. This gave birth to National Electric Power Policy in 2002, the policy document that in turn led to the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act 2005 and the eventual privatisation of the unbundled successor companies of NEPA.

"The current transmission capacity as submitted by the Federal Minister of Power is 6870MW, while the distribution is said to be 7325MW. Technical losses are reported to be at 12 per cent. The current installed generation capacity is said to be 9,920MW with available generation at 6,000MW. However, the peak generation standing at 3,962MW as at April 28, 2014 is disappointingly below the reported available generation of 6,000MW.

"The post-privatisation situation has so far not improved the power sector situation in the country. It has only magnified the cash flow deficit, poor gas supply and bigger ATC and C losses. The sector is consequently heading towards a major crisis.

"It is the observation of the committee that government's efforts to implement the NEPP and enforce EPSR 2005, have been challenging and results disappointing. The committee also believes that the entire process will not provide the rapid development of the electricity industry at the required rate that can take Nigeria into the league of developed nations.

“Consequently, the policy and act need to be carefully reviewed. Certain provisions of the act need to be amended, to address challenges presently affecting the performance of the sector," the report said.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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