ELECTRICITY LAW 1: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY-By Emmanuel Umbu, Esq.

nepaIn simplicity, Electricity is a type of energy that involves the flow of electrons. Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from other sources of primary energy. For electric utilities, electricity generation is the first process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. The other processes: electricity transmission, distribution, and electrical power storage and recovery using pumped-storage methods, are normally carried out by the electric power industry. There are seven fundamental methods of directly transforming other forms of energy into electrical energy. These include Static electricity, Electromagnetic induction, Turbines, Electrochemistry, Photovoltaic effect, Thermoelectric effect, Piezoelectric effect and Nuclear transformation.

ELECTRICITY generation activities started in Nigeria in 1896 when the first power plant was built in Lagos. However, it was not until 1929 when the Nigeria Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) was established as an electric utility company that the phenomenon spread as the Public Works Department (PWD) was empowered to build plants in different parts of the country. In order to effectively coordinate the electricity development, the colonial government enacted the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria statute No. 15 of 1950, commonly known as the ECN Statute, to establish the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN). Subsequently, by Decree No. 24 of 1st April 1972, the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria and the Niger Dam Authority (NDA) were merged to form the National Electric Power Authority, which most of us came to know as NEPA, with a mandate to develop, maintain and co-ordinated an efficient and reliable power supply in the country. Although, those of us of the recent generation knew NEPA to be a colossal failure, but those of the older generation may not share the same view because as at 1973, only eight (8) of the present 36 States in Nigeria were directly connected to the National Grid. But at the time of the unwinding of NEPA, all 36 states but one are fed from the National grid. This is a huge success.

HOWEVER, in 1988, a new degree was promulgated. It was known as the Commercialization and Privatization Decree No. 25 and was aimed at partial commercialization of power to address the acute power shortages in the country. By it, we had some independent power producers (IPPs) and state Governments power generating stations in the country. But the problem still stayed.

IN year 2000, the huge problems in the power sector made the Obasanjo administration to take charge of the affairs of NEPA and constituted a nine (9) Man Technical Board known as the Electric Power Implementation Committee (EPIC). The mandate of the Board was to ensure uninterrupted power supply by December 31, 2001. The board reported directly to the President and also had additional mandate to generate 4000MW by the stated date. Part of the Board’s mandate was to restructure NEPA to meet present day realities and to encourage private sector participation in the industry. The Committee prepared the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) in 2001 and the National Energy Policy in 2003 with the overall theme of optimal utilization of the nation’s energy resources; from fossil fuels and renewable sources, for sustainable development with the active participation of the private sector. In addition, the committee established the National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) in 2004 as a fast-tract government funded initiative to stabilize the power sector and drafted the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005, which is the principal legislation governing the power sector in Nigeria. The EPSRA proposed the incorporation of an initial holding company called Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to assume the assets and liabilities of NEPA (See Section 1 of the EPSRA Act). It also established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (See Section 31 of the EPSRA Act). Other monumental initiatives of the Act include the allowance for power generation companies fondly called GENCO’s. It also included the allowance for power distribution companies fondly called DISCO’s; this includes the company that gave my client a November 2016 Bill that was almost 600% more that what he was charged for January 2016. There is only one Transmission company and it’s controlled by the government.

Join me tomorrow as we move to the main thing.

Emmanuel Umbu, Esquire
Associate Counsel
Eculaw & Co.
2nd Floor, Globe Motors Building
25, Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
08068612247

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s