Nigerian commission issues 22 licences for power generation end-2007

Feb 02, 2008 01:00 AM

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Ransome Owan has said the commission issued 22 licences to prospective companies in the nation's power sector at the end of 2007 for the generation of over 10,418 MW of electricity in the country.
He said this was in addition to interim licences granted 18 successor companies of the Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in July 2006.

Owan, who made the disclosure when he led NERC commissioners on a visit to the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, said the committee on Power Sector Incentives (PSI), set up when Imoke was Minister of Power, had also completed its work. He added that the committee's report on incentives to encourage private investment and factors mitigating against the high cost of capital was already being considered by the Federal Government.
Owan said the commission was empowered to issue licences for generation of over 1 MW of power and distribution of over 100 kW, adding that it is conscious of the urgent need for adequate power production in the country and has therefore taken necessary steps to realize the objective.

The NERC chairman recalled that the National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) programme was also inaugurated during the tenure of Imoke as Minister of Power and said the projects would soon bear the expected result. He said the state is one of the beneficiaries of the NIPP as one of the projects is under construction at Ikot Nyong in Odukpani local government area of the state.
"It is expected that in the next few years when these plants become operational, the national power demand gap will be bridged significantly," he said.

Owan also commended the state government for setting up the Cross River State Electrification Agency (CRSEA), which he said is the first of its kind in the country, and expressed the hope that the agency would focus on small to medium scale integrated power projects.
He said given, "the abundant hydrologicalendowments in the state, prominent of which are the Qua falls and the Agbokim Waterfalls, among others, the state is well positioned to harness these to become self sufficient in power."

He advised the Governor to ensure that the state explores the opportunities provided by Private Public Partnership (PPP) as viable options and business models for government to enter the power market in the face of inadequate fund occasioned by other pressing state needs.
"We would like to convey to the people of the state that there are many business-to-business opportunities in the power sector that they too can participate. SMEs can take part in providing accounting, consultancy, and legal services, as well as the vending of goods and services such as vouchers for pre-paid metres among others," Owan said.

Addressing the Commission, Imoke said the constitution of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as part of initiative put in place by the Federal Government to bring about lasting and sustainablesolution towards addressing electricity problem in Nigeria. He said the commission has a more important role to play now than in the past because the challenge of licensing should translate to the new capacity being added to the grid which will improve supply as well as the issue of tariff regulation which will be more meaningfully addressed, adding that he had confidence that the board was capable of a addressing the problem of the power sector.
The Governor called on the commission to evolve a well packaged incentive available to investors to undertake power generation, adding that it should also work closely with the State Electrification Agency to deliver electricity to the rural areas in order to create opportunities for wealth generation.

Source / This Day
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