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Electricity Workers Threaten Strike over Epileptic Power Supply

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The already deplorable power situation in some parts of the country may worsen as the workers in the power sector have threatened to stop the supply of electricity to the South-south and South-west regions by the end of the month.
The industrial action is to protest the epileptic power supply being experienced in most part of the country as well as the anti-labour practices such as de-unionisation, victimisation of union leaders and the poor working conditions of workers in the sector.

Other grievances include the exploitation of Nigerians by electricity distribution companies who extort consumers without adequate supply of electricity.

The industrial action followed the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and leaders of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to the federal government and operators to address current power situation and the labour issues in the sector.

The ultimatum was issued by the leadership of the NLC state councils in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo Edo,  Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers,  Delta, Kwara and Kogi at the end of its meeting with the leadership of NUEE  in Akure, Ondo State, last Wednesday.

After an exhaustive deliberation on the working condition of various categories of workers of electricity distribution companies in the affected states, the unions observed with dismay the ongoing actions by the investors in the power sector to de-unionise workers of the sector. It called on the federal government to immediately call the investors to order, stating that the above action constitutes a constitutional breach to the effect that all employers are expected by the provision of the law to allow unionisation of its workforce.

The meeting also condemned in strong terms the victimisation of labour leaders and the failure of the federal government to call the investors in the power sector to order in tandem with the tripartite agreement reached with the organised labour on January 13.

It equally frowned at the “exploitation of Nigerian masses by the buyers of the electricity distribution companies who deliberately suffocated the Nigerian people by an unholy extortion by charging fees without supply.”

It called on the federal government and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to as a matter of urgency direct the recall of all the union leaders disengaged as a result of transfer of ownership of the power in the interest of industrial peace and harmony in the sector.

It listed the power companies to include, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC),  Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC), Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC), Transcorp Electricity Ugheli, Egbin Power Plc-Kerl, Geregu Power Plc and Olorunshogo Power Plc.

“The federal government and all the under listed companies should as a matter of national interest address all the issues canvassed above within seven days from the date of this communiqué in order to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the power sector as the labour movement will resist any attempt to buckanise the movement by either individual or group in whatever disguise or name. The labour movement should not be held responsible for any actions taken to drive home its demands if the government fails to address the above canvassed issues after the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum,” the communiqué added.
However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved and signed into law the rules established to guide operations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) for the interim period between the completion of power sector privatisation and the start of a Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) in NESI.

This followed the disclosure that the Nigerian power generation is coming up again with the current generated megawatts (MW) hitting over 4,000 as at Tuesday.

NERC said in a statement yesterday that the order was signed by its Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, providing for regulation which shall apply to energy produced and delivered as well as associated services during the interim period in NESI.

Under the rules which are in exercise of the powers conferred on the NERC by section 96 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, all electricity taken from the transmission system by the market participants are done with adjustment made to account for any bilateral arrangements between existing generation and distribution companies.

The statement, which was signed by NERC’s Head of Public Affairs, Dr. Usman Arabi, in Abuja, also explained that existing arrangements in the industry would however be maintained save to the extent that they are modified by the order of the commission.

Arabi stated that the objectives of the rules are to establish a framework to govern trading arrangements during the interim period when Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between the privatised Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor generation companies and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Vesting Contracts between NBET and the privatised PHCN successor distribution companies will not be effective.

He equally noted that it was to manage the probable revenue shortfall in the industry by determining the revenue allowable to participants and service providers during the interim period.

“The objectives also include the establishment of payment arrangements and flow of funds from Discos through the market operator to all beneficiaries and to establish the sources of funds required to ameliorate the probable shortfall in the revenues collected by the Discos during the interim period.

“The market operator shall ensure that the Discos are with invoices for their allocation of energy delivered and available capacity regulatory charges and services provided in each month during the interim period,” Arabi said.

He further explained that: “In the event of disputes arising during the period between participants and service providers, it shall be resolved in accordance with the disputes resolution provision of the market rules.”

NERC had also in the same vein, approved the enforcement regulation for NES; the regulation seeks to enforce, maintain and ensure the adherence by licensees  and other participants in the electricity market to the provision of the EPSR Act and other instruments for the purpose of achieving; the creation, promotion and preservation of an efficient electricity industry and  market.
It also ensures the fostering of a culture of regulatory compliance, facilitation of swift investigation and resolution of incidences of regulatory non-compliance as well as fair and transparent determination of rights and obligations in NESI.

“Furthermore, it provides for the maintenance of a predictable, stable and effective system for the assessment of compliance in the NESI and the proper allocation of responsibility, the establishment of a system for the deterrence, penalisation and application of sanction to acts or omissions which constitute non-compliance with regulatory framework established by the Act and regulatory instruments made pursuant thereto,” Arabi noted.

He said that in exercising its enforcement powers under the Act, NERC shall be guided by the principles of fair hearing and non-discrimination, accountability and transparency, proportionality of the exercise of enforcement with breaches, efficiency of the commission’s enforcement regime for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Act and all regulations.

Meanwhile, the Special Assistant to Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Kande Daniel, stated in Abuja that national grid information which was released early on Wednesday indicated that the country’s generation capacity picked up and got to 4105.90MW.

Daniel explained that a breakdown of how generated capacity was shared showed that the industrial nerve-centre of Lagos and environs got the highest with a maximum load allocation of 985.0MW while the maximum load allocated to Abuja through Katampe and Gwagwalada power line was 410.80MW.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 5 Years ago

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