The Federal Government is adopting a bottom-up approach to tackle the perennial crisis facing the nation’s power sector, Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has said.
The Minister Minister who spoke at the third annual workshop for Power Correspondents Association of Nigeria (PCAN) in Abuja in Abuja on Thursday said the new approach was part of the short term strategies being considered to allow the industry to pay attention to those issues that makes it difficult for the different segments in the sector’s value chain to realise their potential.
Adelabu, who was the special guest said the present administration was determined to provide a reliable and regular supply of electricity to households and businesses in the country.
He said the ultimate goal of the new approach, the Minister explained, was to ensure that the bottlenecks, from the consumers, up to distribution and transmission infrastructure, that have made it difficult for a significant portion of electricity generated currently not to get to the end users were removed.
Adelabu who was represented by the Director, Transmission, Ministry of Power, Nosike Emmanuel, said the enactment of the 2023 Electricity Act was part of the present administration’s demonstration of its determination to resolve the sector’s challenges by liberalising the operations of the power sector to ensure regular supply of electricity across the country.
“The 2023 Electricity Act is a significant part of the country’s energy roadmap that clearly signifies the present administration’s commitment to the transformation of the power sector.
“Apart from liberalising electricity generation, transmission and distribution, the Act also empowers States, organisations and even individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity,” he said.
Also, under the Act, the Minister said State governments can issue licences to private investors to operate power plants and mini grids, within the States, while private investors can also obtain licensces for generation, transmission, system operations, trading, distribution and supply.
The re-enacted electricity Act, Adelabu explained, has changed the entire landscape of the power sector, allowing the different agencies involved in the power sector value chain to contribute towards its success.
The different agencies include the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Nigerian Electricity Management Services (NEMSA), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and the National Power Training Institute (NAPTIN).
A key part of the 2023 Electricity Act, the Minister said, was the development of an Integrated National Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan being developed in collaboration with the National Council on Power (NCP), pending approval by the Executive Council of the Federation.
“As a part of the strategy in the road map, emphasis will be on the bottom-up approach, unlike the top-down approach of the past. The implication is that with the bottom-up approach, priority will given to metering, distribution and transmission infrastructure.
“Focus will be on customers down to distribution and transmission infrastructure in the short term, to ensure a significant portion of what is generated currently gets to the end users.
“Attention will also be paid to the generation segment, particularly in areas of distributed (embedded) power from renewable energy sources, while at the same time, advancing base load power through thermal and hydro plants in the medium to long term,” the Minister said.
In addition, he said the government would explore regional energy potentials, to allow it focus on solar energy in the North, mini-hydro power plants in the Middle belt and the Southwest, hybridized with solar, while the coastal States would be identified for wind energy utilisation.
He called on the media to partner with the government to communicate and advocate against issues affecting the progress of the sector, like power theft, vandalization and sabotage.
In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of PCAN, Obas Esiedesa, said the workshop was an initiative to create a platform to build capacity for journalists covering the power sector, in terms of information to enrich their knowledge on the workings of the sector.
“This workshop, from inception, three years ago, was intended to create an opportunity to build the capacity of journalists covering the power sector.
“It was also intended to create an avenue for journalists to interact with industry players and regulators. It has in the past two editions, served as a consumer forum where issues bordering on service delivery are resolved,” he said.
The theme of the workshop was: “Resolving Nigeria’s Power Crisis: The Implication of the Electricity Act 2023.”