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Edo: Electricity bill to empower state governments, says Omonfoman

By Guardian Nigeria
28 July 2022   |   2:55 am
The Managing Director/CEO, New Hampshire Capital Limited and Technical Consultant on Power Sector for the Nigerian Governors Forum Secretariat, Odion Omonfoman, has said the passage of Edo Electricity Bill...

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The Managing Director/CEO, New Hampshire Capital Limited and Technical Consultant on Power Sector for the Nigerian Governors Forum Secretariat, Odion Omonfoman, has said the passage of Edo Electricity Bill would arm the state with the constitutional and legal rights to play active roles in the power sector.

The Edo State House of Assembly recently passed a Bill for a law to make provision for electricity generation, transmission and distribution for residents of the State.

The bill, submitted to the State House of Assembly as an executive bill by the Edo State Government, also makes provision for the creation of an Edo State electricity market.

Omonfoman stated: “I hereby commend the Edo State House of Assembly for its timely passage of this very important bill. The bill is in line with the recent constitutional alteration which alters the electricity provisions in section 14(b) of the concurrent legislative list within the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to give State Houses of Assembly the right to make laws for electricity and electricity generation, transmission and distribution within a state.

“While the constitutional alteration and amendment processes are yet to be concluded, it is heartening to note that the Edo State Government under Governor Godwin Obaseki has proactively taken steps to make relevant state laws that deepen true federalism within Nigeria, and ensure that citizens and businesses within Edo State enjoy reliable public electricity supply.”

He also stated: “When signed into law as an Act, the bill will give the Edo State government the constitutional and legal rights to set up a State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) that would regulate the electricity sector within Edo State; license and operate electricity market structures for the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity within Edo State.”

license state-owned power generation plants and/or private Independent Power Plants (IPP) that will generate electricity within Edo State, provided these IPPs are not connected to the national grid; license, own, operate and manage transmission infrastructure within Edo State.

License, own, operate and manage electricity distribution networks operating within the state boundaries and set wholesale and retail electricity tariffs for state licensed entities operating within the Edo State electricity market.”

On the impact it would make on the State, he stated: “While the impact of the bill to the common man may not be immediate, the Edo State electricity bill, when implemented, will positively transform economic and social activities within the state. The bill will also attract significant local and foreign investments into the state, as well as create direct and indirect jobs.

“The first and perhaps the most important step in implementing the bill when signed into law, will be for the State Government to establish the Edo State Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the establishment of a market driven, independent regulatory framework for the state electricity market. A market-based regulatory framework is imperative and necessary for the development of a viable and sustainable electricity market within Edo State.

“Consequently, the Edo State government must ensure that the Commission is composed of experts and professionals that have a market-driven approach to electricity regulations and reforms, and fully understand the role those effective regulations will play in developing the nascent Edo State electricity market, and also attract the right private sector investors and project developers.

“I also wish to commend the leadership of the 9th Senate for the passage of the Electricity Bill 2022, which is a wholesale amendment of the existing Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) passed in 2005. If accented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, it would be one of the most important legacies of his administration.”