Incensed by the energy crisis nationwide, the House of Representatives yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the power sector.
To show seriousness, the lower chamber of the National Assembly mandated its Committee on Power to urgently hold a public hearing to ascertain current electricity generation, transmission and distribution as well as evaluate the problems and come up with feasible ideas on how the country could embrace other renewable energy sources like coal, solar and others.
It also directed the panel to conscientiously oversight the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other relevant agencies under the Ministry of Power by ensuring that they comply with all extant laws, just as the chamber also demanded the committee to see to the prompt implementation of the motion and report back to the House in six weeks for further legislative action.
The resolutions yesterday followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent need to declare state of emergency in the power sector”, sponsored by Nnolim Nnaji (PDP, Enugu) during plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila in Abuja.
During the presentation, the sponsor noted: “In 1972, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was created to generate and distribute electricity in the country. And as at year 2000, the generating capacity of NEPA from four thermal and two hydro plants was 6,200MW which resulted in very unstable power situation thus exposing consumers to regular power cuts and a long period of outage.”
He further said: “In 2001, the Federal Government commenced the reform of the electricity sector with a policy to create an efficient market in preparation to the transfer of ownership and management of the infrastructure and assets of the electricity industry to the private sector.”
“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).
“Aware that 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 parameter by which the standard of living as well as the level of industrialisation of a nation is measured.”
Nnaji went on: “Further aware that currently, there is an ongoing failure of the sector to provide adequate electricity supply to households and industries despite (Nigeria) being a rapidly growing economy. Only a limited number of the population is connected to the energy grid while power supply difficulties are experienced around the country most of the time.
“At best, average daily power supply is estimated at four hours, although several days can go by without any power at all. We are having a serious decline in power generation, thus the idea of our great nation generating 2,000 to 3,000MW or less is highly unacceptable.”