In a bid to help Nigeria attain universal access to energy by 2030, experts who converged for the 74th Power Dialogue, organized by The Electricity Hub (TEH) in Abuja, have proposed the
establishment of task forces to combat energy theft and safeguard the nation’s electricity sector.
The Dialogue had the theme: Reaching the Last Mile – Are State Electricity Markets the Future?, and drew respected participants from the energy field to rub minds and propose solutions to Nigeria’s energy crisis.
The discourse which was held in Abuja, had experts such as Mr. Chigoziri Egeruoh, Chief Engineer African Development Bank (AfDB); Mr Eyo Ekpo, Chief Executive Officer, Excredite Consulting, and Mr Rumundaka Wonondi, CEO, ZKJ Energy, as panelist.
The interaction was moderated by Ms Olajumoke Delano, Head Regulatory and Government, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
It held against the background that in July 2022, the Senate passed the Electricity Bill 2022, which seeks to fend off the Electricity and Power Sector Reform Act 2005 and enact the Electricity Act.
The Bill’s primary objective is to establish an overarching legal and institutional framework to guide the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) Act which is still in review, and allowing States to participate in the privatization of the energy sector as well as inclusion of individual investment.
In his contribution during the discourse, Mr. Eyo Ekpo differentiated between state electricity and state-owned electricity markets, adding that the state electricity bill, passed in July 2022, was about the Federal Government’s electricity market and not the State electricity market.
Also making his contribution, Mr. Wonondi highlighted the types of markets and the types of activities to be practised based on the market types.
He said generation is a national space for cross boarding, and its impact being national.
“it’s impossible to situate a power plant within a state and claim it’s strictly for the state,” he said.
Mr. Wonondi explained that the state electricity markets in Nigeria are not ready because it requires a good distribution network and energy choices.
He spoke on the role of regulators in State electricity markets, saying when it comes to distribution, the state market is feasible, but when it advances to other activities like generation, it is better to have a national grid
He also spoke about regulations noting how multiple bodies can’t be in charge of regulating the markets.
Mr. Egeruoh emphasized the feasibility, optimization, financing, organization and the management of resources to have a stable market.
He further addressed how State electricity markets will drive investment depending on the states’ participation, time, cost, policy and reliability of the market.
On the questions concerning state markets having independent power-producing entities, the impact of vandalism and energy theft in the state market and how it could be managed, the panellists recommended various ways the bill has made provisions to tackle energy theft.
To that effect, Ms Jumoke Delano proposal for the establishment task forces to combat energy theft.
The panelists further proffered solutions regarding challenging capacities, establishing regulatory policies and how the states are to prepare for these issues.