Damilola Shittu – Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola says the power to revoke licenses of non-performing electricity Distribution Companies is vested in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Fashola said this on Thursday in Abuja at the 2019 Punuka Annual Lecture with the theme: “Rethinking the Model for an Effective Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry: Challenges for Government and Industry”.
According to him, the power not to renew or to cancel the license of non-performing DisCos exists and it is vested in the regulator, NERC and not in the minister.
He said that the regulator could on its own, upon complaints of consumer or a group of customers amend or cancel the license of a non-performing DisCo.
Fashola said that the powers of NERC to amend or cancel licenses is applicable to all licensing authorities, the transmission companies, generation companies, distribution companies and others under the Act.
“The power not to renew or to revoke the operational license of any of the authority is in sections 73 and 74 of the Act and so, there is no monopoly granted any agency unless it is endorsed on their license.
“So, there is nothing that stops the regulator from licensing another person to do the same activities within their territory as DisCo.
“If you are not serving an area well, you will get a notice that consumers in the area are not happy and you will be given a time limit to deal with the problem.
“Upon failure to address the problem, the regulator can amend your license, take the area out of your territory and license it to another person or cancel the entire license,” he said.
Fashola said that state governments are empowered under the constitution to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas not covered by the national grid.
According to him, the states have been engaged in grid extension, taking the existing grid to where it has not reached.
He said states have constitutional powers to build their plant and set up their power authorities without being questioned.
The minister called on electricity consumers to protect power installations from abuse, vandalism, pay bills and also, be vanguards against energy theft.
In her remark, Ms Elizabeth Idigbe, the Managing Partner, Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors said the theme of the lecture was borne out of public and private sector concern.
She said that supply and availability of power is key to the modern industrial economy and pivotal for increasing business development agenda.