Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has inaugurated the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, urging the commission to focus more on customer service to move the power sector forward.
Speaking after the brief ceremony, Fashola, on Thursday in Abuja, said customer service was “a challenging bridge that must be crossed”.
He said it was the duty of the commission to make consumers understand what was going on with their metering, what are their rights and who to hold accountable when things go wrong with service delivery.
The minister said to the NERC Chairman, Prof. James Momoh; “Consumers must understand what is going on with their metering.
“What are their rights and so on and so forth; who do they hold accountable, where are the NERC field offices to which they can complain.
“What is the process of getting remediation for service that is not in sufficient quantity and of quality?”
Fashola said he would always make himself available to render assistance in terms of policy guidelines, policy directions and help to move the wheel of bureaucracy to make progress.
He said the commission also had to do a lot of enlightenment among the customers to make them understand who and where to complain when they needed service.
Fashola, who described the commission as the policeman of the power sector, expressed delight that it now has the full compliment of its membership with a Chairman.
According to the Minister, “The truth is that we don’t buy meters and we don’t supply meters. really and truly our role now is just to make policies;
“Our quality of energy, type of energy; whether it is hydro, thermal, and solar or wind and to make sure that if there are problems we go and solve them. And that is in terms of government activities”.
Fashola pointed out that the power industry was now a business where the GenCos, DisCos the core investors are now responsible for providing electricity to Nigerians.
He said Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), owned by the government, was now run as a business to transmit electricity.
He said the organisations, both private and public, were subject to the regulatory power of NERC whose Chairman was being inaugurated. “So that is the policeman of the power industry”, he said.
Describing metering as a “big issue” in the industry, Fashola, noted the commission has already issued regulations concerning the problem .
He promised that government was working hard on how quickly meters could come, adding that for those people not connected to the grid, NERC has also issued regulations for mini-grids and how it would happen.
He expressed delight that between 2015 and now, many consumers have experienced better supply by way of having power for longer hours, buying less diesel and running their generators for shorter periods .
He, however, said in some places people still say that their experience was not good. “So that means there is still a lot of work to do”, he said.
In his acceptance remarks, the new Chairman, Prof. James Momoh, pledged to abide by the oath of office he had taken.
He said he was proud to return and serve his country in the capacity he had been chosen after serving in the U. S. for so many years.
“I understand that I have been given a trust. My job is a trust. I want to assure you that I am a team player.
“I will work with the commissioners of NERC, I will work with the ministry and I will work with the legislative arm of government so that together we will forge a relationship.
“We understand we have been given a trust to move the power sector to the next level”, he said.