Nigeria: Declare State of Emergency in Power Sector, House Tells Govt

14 February 2020

Abuja — House of Representatives has called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector, saying if there's no urgent declaration of state of emergency in the power sector, the collateral damage it would cause us in the nearest future would be unprecedented.

This was coming as the green chamber has also mandated the House committee on Power to urgently call for a public hearing on the current state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution, to evaluate the problems and come up with ideas on how the country could expand the energy sources beyond hydro and gas plant to include coal, solar and other renewable sources of energy.

The House took the decision following the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Nnolim Nnaji at the plenary thursday presided over by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

He said in 1972, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was created to generate and distribute electricity in the country, adding that as at 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 long period of outages.

Nnaji added that in 2001, the federal government commenced the reform of electricity sector with a policy to create an efficient electricity market in preparation to the transfer of ownership and management of the infrastructure and assets of the electricity industry to the private sector.

The lawmaker explained that 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).

He noted in recent years, electricity supply has become very significant owing to the seemingly indispensible role it plays in every facet of our lives, explaining that absence of electricity for long periods could cause discomfort and hamper productivity.

Nnaji added that it's 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 could be 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 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 that our great nation is generating 2,000MW to 3,000MW or less is highly unacceptable.

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