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Senate To Enact Comprehensive Electricity Law – Suswam

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, says the miserable quality of electricity supply in the country would soon be addressed with the enactment of comprehensive Electricity Act, which is in the pipeline.

Senator Suswam gave the assurance on Monday when he led the Senate Committee on Power to the NERC headquarters and other power installations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He disclosed that the Senate was putting together a comprehensive Electricity Act in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to tackle the challenges facing the consumers, the suppliers and the regulators.

The former Benue State governor said the electricity distribution companies had heeded the directive of the National Assembly to suspend their planned tariff hike, which should have started in August.

“The DISCOs respected us because they know the burden that Nigerians are passing through,” Dr. Suswam said.

According to him, “the legal framework that we have in place which regulates the power sector, was set up in 2004, just to enable the government to privatize the sector.

“Now we’ve gone beyond privatisation, and there has to be an electricity act for the country.

“The Act, which should be ready in August, will set a legal framework that would touch on the issue of energy theft, and the sanctions against those who bypass meters.

” It will also give potential investors to come and invest in Nigeria knowing that the legal framework for the country’s power sector protects them.”

He added, “The Act that established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission gave it the power to make sure it carries out tariff reviews.

“To a large extent they have done that but we now find ourselves in a difficult economic situation at the moment.

“By their own programme, the distribution companies are supposed to activate tariff increase by the first of July this year but the National Assembly appealed to them to tarry a while so that Nigerians could recover from the economic shock before they can activate the tariff.

“As difficult as it was, they were able to accede to our appeal and that is why the tariff increase activation has not kicked off.

“That is not to say that it will not be increased eventually because the only way the sector can become liquid is for the proper tariff to be charged and for all consumers to have meters.”

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