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Regulatory Commissioner traces weak power sector coordination to low electricity supply

The Commissioner, Engineering Standards and Safety of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. Frank Okafor has argued that the intractable instability of power is rooted in the sector’s poor coordination and noted that electricity supply will remain epileptic pending when the sector became well coordinated.

In his ‘electrifying’ presentation at the 2017 public lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering in Lagos on Wednesday, the don disclosed that for the privatisation programme of the Federal Government to be effective and improve electricity generation and distribution, NERC must be fair and firm to investors in the sector and maintain equity in dealing with every stakeholder.

Prof Okafor averred that until disobedience to instructions by system and market operators is adequately sanctioned, there may not be a sustainable headway in nationwide power stability.

He said “Beyond low investment by the new owners of national power assets, especially at distribution, which makes it difficult for available power to get to consumers, other factors like market discipline and poor sector coordination have been identified as impediments to the growth of the Nigeria electricity supply industry”.

The professor of the Electrical Engineering, University of Lagos, said NERC lacked what it takes to drive critical service infrastructure such as equipment type and routine tests, research and development, and strategic planning.

Continuing, he said “It is my view that NERC must bridge these gaps even when it appears some of them are not part of the functions of the commission. Privatisation of the power sector in a developing country like Nigeria often leads to government granting legal monopolies to some new entities.”

He said to start on a sustainable footing, NERC must rise up to the regulatory challenge of monitoring and evaluation; operational performance; customer services; metering, billing and revenue collection; and financial performance as well as competitiveness to spur further private sector investments.

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