As Nigerians anxiously await stable electricity supply in the country, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. James Momoh, has expressed optimism that, "stable power supply in the nation will be realised in our life time."
Momoh, explained that this would take place when the metering situation in the country improves within the next two years through the current Meter Asset Providers' scheme as well as when renewable energy is allowed in the country.
The NERC chief stated this during an interview on Channels Television. He noted that the commission was committed to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians.
"We are committed to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians every day and every minute. The target is that by the time we have improved meter within two years, that will improve the quality of service all over the country.
"By the time we allow renewable energy before 2030, a lot will be done. Formerly, I am saying do we have a target when all Nigerians will be powered? Hopefully, in our lifetime it will happen.
"What do I mean? It is going to happen because there is a big need for power supply to run businesses in Nigeria, and Nigeria wants to be the number 20 in the world," Momoh said.
Furthermore, the NERC boss clarified the electricity tariff situation in the country, saying the commission has not increased tariff contrary to what had been making the rounds since it published what he called, "a minor review" last month.
According to him, "We have not increased tariff at the moment. What we have done is, ask the big question: When do we get this thing right given that the Discos say we need cost-reflective tariff to be able
to provide services that we actually should do?
"So we did a minor review which is a review that takes into account the exchange rate, gas availability, availability of capacity generation, network availability, to make sure there is meter available to customers.
"So looking at these, NERC therefore said look, we would have to take advantage of this opportunity given to us as a regulator to make sure we have a third party investor to provide meters, which is called Meter Asset Providers. That allows customers now to have access to meters."
Momoh, explained that the review was done to make sure all macroeconomic indicators were put in place in terms of exchange rate, to make sure there was enough gas, saying, "with all these put together, we now have to ask the question: do we now have meters available to customers? Do we have quality power supply?"
He added: "What we have sent out was an order that says what we must do to get the business right, that if the Discos recognise that they have to provide quality power, they have to make sure customers are metered, we also have to make sure all the indicators are right, then we can say we have done the review that was lacking before. "Mind you, the review was not done since 2015. There were a lot of reasons why it wasn't done.
"The review was done to alert the Discos of their key responsibilities and the responsibility of customers and the expectation of customers, so that when they do the Performance Improvement that we asked them to do in terms of making sure the network is strong, making sure all the different equipment are working, and also making sure that the losses are reduced, they will get it right.
"Then, the reaction that will follow is that with engaging the customers at the end of the day, may be by next year, we will be able to now agree on what should be the appropriate cost."
He also stressed that alternate energy was a must in Nigeria, adding that NERC was supporting every effort and initiative in making sure that renewable energy was achieved by 2030, during which almost 30 per cent of the country's power supply would be from renewable energy.