President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has signed the Electricity Act 2023, which parliament first passed in July 2022.
The Electricity Act will take the place of the 2005 Electricity and Power Sector Reform Act. It establishes a framework to oversee the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry’s (NESI) post-privatization phase and to stimulate private sector investment in the sector.
Some of the functions that the Electricity Act attempts to guide are highlighted below.
State electricity empowerment
The de-monopolization of Nigeria’s electricity generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity at the National level empowers states, companies, and individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.
Under the Act, states can issue licenses to private investors who can operate mini-grids and power plants within the state. However, the Act precludes interstate and transnational electricity distribution.
Powers of NERC
Under the Electricity Act 2023, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will be able to regulate the electricity sector within Nigeria without prejudice to the powers of the states to make laws and create electricity markets within those states and to regulate those markets.
The Act mandates how NERC can transition regulatory responsibilities from itself to state regulators when they are established. Until a state has passed its electricity market laws, NERC will continue to regulate electricity business exclusively carried out in those states.
For now, Lagos, Edo and Kaduna states already have electricity market laws and can start regulating their market. But for other states without such laws, NERC will regulate. NERC will still carry out cross-border regulations – generation, and transmission across states will still be regulated by NERC.
Role of lawmakers
The Act grants lawmakers the power to carry out oversight responsibilities and function over the NESI through its respective Committees on Power in the Senate and House of Representatives. This is to be carried out notwithstanding the supervisory powers of any government Ministry over government-owned enterprises or other entities operating in the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
Empowering renewable energy
Electricity generation licensees are obligated to meet renewable generation obligations as may be prescribed by NERC. Under the Act, electricity generating companies will be mandated to either generate power from renewable energy sources, purchase power generated from renewable energy or procure any instrument representing renewable energy generation.
The Electricity Act also mandates the imposition of renewable purchase obligations on distribution or supply licensees.
Did you should know
The Act also states that anyone may construct, own or operate an undertaking for generating electricity not exceeding 1 megawatt (MW) in aggregate at a site or an undertaking for distribution of electricity with a capacity not exceeding 100 kilowatts (KW) in aggregate at a site, or such other capacity as NERC may determine from time to time, without a license.