Famed for its expertise in leveraging technology, crowd sourcing concepts and web-based communication tools to promote public awareness, and facilitate citizen engagement in the policy, legislative and institutional platforms and processes of the Nigerian oil and power sectors, S4C will use this report as an advocacy tool, and continue to use its array of online and offline platforms to amplify the conference outcomes. By working to stimulate public interest and trigger informed dialogue on key developmental issues such as oil and gas, energy, environment and urban governance, S4C is determined to create a powerful movement of citizens that can push for policy and legislative changes on a variety of vital issues affecting the citizenry.
“To what extent has the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) prepared to enhance the productive and executive capacities of key personnel in the power sector to sustain the perceived improvement in supply?”
Sam Amadi: Our focus has been to create a regulator that can effectively regulate a dynamic market. One of the first things I did as chairman of NERC was to create knowledge platforms that will capacitate the staff to be at the cutting edge of the sector. We have the Distinguished Visitors Program, the NERC Fellowship for academics, we also have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nigerian Universities Commission to create a curriculum for master and doctorate degrees on power system management. We are also discussing with Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) for a professorial chair on energy law and regulation from NERC. So, we are on top of it.
SPACES FOR CHANGE: Would it then be appropriate to infer, based on your response that such capacity building of personnel in the power sector would take time to yield the expected dividends?
Sam Amadi: I think the reform is yielding fruit. The improvement is not a hoax. The Roadmap and the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR)1 Act passed in March 2005, are well articulated. But the problem has been implementation. There will be continuous improvement in the system as we continue to implement sincerely and intelligently, the provisions of the Act. NERC has always provided an opportunity for the citizens to get engaged. We want to form a civil society organizations’ (CSO) coalition on the power sector to monitor procurement and service delivery in the sector. I will be glad if this meeting can turn to such a coalition or at least its beginning.
Yes, it will take some time. But we have some low hanging fruits today. Because of the integrity and competence of NERC, many investors are coming to the sector. Today, we have the best privatization exercise ever in the country. We are doing well. But we must do better.
SPACES FOR CHANGE: That’s a wonderful suggestion you made and we will strive to ensure such meetings and avenues for citizen engagement would be continuous.
“Why do we have a marked improvement (in electricity supply) in certain areas but a regression in others?”
Sam Amadi: It is because in some places the distribution network is weak, while in other places it is strong. The production is not just the amount of power. Saying that there is regression in some areas is not very correct. There are many power plants that require gas to fire, but the amount of 9000 megawatts by year end is unrealistic. If
everything works well we can get about 5000 megawatts and no more by December 2012
SPACES FOR CHANGE: Understandably, any sort of reform that seeks : to overhaul a systemic problem would take time to yield desired and even results. Closely related to this unevenness in improvement of supply is that many are of the opinion that this improvement is just a temporary thing; that it has more to do with the rainy season rather than infrastructural upgrades.
“… in my experience, some level of power stability is witnessed at this time every year. That inspires the belief that the reported increase may be linked to the high seasonal rainfall. So a better way to assess performance is to compare the frequency of electricity supply during the rainy and the dry seasons.”
SPACES FOR CHANGE: Thank you sir. That’s a very critical point you made that power supply and generation would drop by about 200 to 300 megawatts in the dry season, and that the main issue is not the marginal improvements but the overall “emerging structure”.
Sam Amadi: The government usually lacks the capacity to communicate well and manage expectation. There is some improvement in the sector that will last. But the improvement is in generation will drop slightly and pick up later in the years to come. It also depends on how we quickly resolve the power situation. The key thing is to let Nigerians know that although in the next 8 months or so, we may not see a major haul of new power, in the subsequent 8 months we will make significant and sustainable progress. NERC will take that communication. There is always a risk of being proactive in bureaucratic culture. Someone will attack you for being very dominant. This is the bad side of public sector. But NERC will take up that challenge.