By Kelvin Alohan
Nigeria has finally signed into law a regulation to govern mini grid electricity generation, thus rekindling hopes that about 89 million of her citizens presently not connected to any form of grid electricity may eventually get connected.
The country’s electricity regulator – Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), finally signed the law on May 24, 2017, and recently posted it to its website for the general public.
It was gathered on Wednesday in Abuja that both the commission’s vice chairman, Sanusi Garba; and commissioner for legal, licensing and enforcement, Dafe Akpeneye, signed the law, which would now allow investors interested in isolated and interconnected mini grid generation plants of up to one megawatt, to invest in and supply electricity from.
NERC said the passing of the regulation which reportedly followed a review and ratification by Nigeria’s ministry of justice, was in exercise of its powers to make regulations conferred by Sections 96(1) and 70(8) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 (Act No.6 of 2005).
Industry stakeholders had fingered the absence of the regulation as a key reason why millions of dollars’ worth of planned investments in the country’s Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) have been held back.
In the regulation, NERC clearly spelt out the applications of the law; characteristics of mini-grids; mandatory conditions for registration and grant of permit; operation of the mini-grid; commercial arrangements; and other areas bothering on exclusivity period and site reservation for project development purposes; as well as procedure for securing compliance with permit or tripartite contract as applicable.