The House of Representatives has moved to earmark 5 per cent of revenue generated from the power sector to host communities where power is generated.
The bill which has been passed for the 2nd reading seeks to amend the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act 2005 to provide for the reservation of 5 per cent of all revenue accruing from power generated by all power generating companies in Nigeria for the development of host communities.
Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajinmi Benson, who sponsored the bill, noted that the adverse effects on the environment, human and aquatic lives on the communities hosting the power generating stations all over the country, particularly thermal pollution from the power generation stations will be recognised under this Act.
Benson who represents Ikorodu federal constituency of Lagos State, while reading the title of the bill, noted that the 5 per cent revenue shall be received, managed, and administered by a trustee to be appointed by the GENCOs and representative of the host communities, upon agreement between the host communities and GENCOs on one part and the trustee on the other part.
According to him, the purpose of the amendment is to lawfully provide for the development of communities hosting power generation companies across the country.
“Colleagues, when passed, this bill will help to ameliorate the untold hardship and infrastructural degradation often suffered by communities hosting power generating firms as a result of the adverse climatic, livelihood, and public health effects of their activities. As stated above, host communities of all generating companies (GENCOs) shall be entitled to 5 per cent of the firms’ previous year’s actual operating expenditure.
“Power generation, transmission, distribution and usage are known to cause huge harmful environmental and health challenges for host communities.
possible to produce, transmit and consume power without significant environmental impact.
“The electricity sector is unique among industrial sectors in its very large contribution to emissions associated with nearly all climatic and health issues,” he said.
Benson further argued that power plants also require access roads, railroads, and pipelines for fuel delivery as well as electricity transmission lines and cooling water supplies which could lead to soil erosion, deforestation, and water pollution from their construction work.
“This destabilises the livelihood of the communities hosting them and also leads to water and soil contamination from waste and byproducts.
“Furthermore, the electricity sector is known to have a significant impact on water habitat and species.
“Power generation leads to the destruction of aquatic life and consequently the disruption of sources of livelihood for host communities, especially the fishing communities.
“In particular, hydro dams, which is a major source of power generation in Nigeria, and transmission lines have significant effects on water and biodiversity.
“Also, dear colleagues, hydropower generation causes significant dislocation in the lives of people where the reservoirs are installed and often lead to flooding and disruption of aquatic ecosystems.
“Water diversion or impoundment also affects people as well as plants and wildlife that depend on their access in certain locations. Changes can also impact water quality and change land uses,” Benson added.
He also noted that host communities are even more at catastrophic risk when the dam wall fails”.
According to him, “Specifically, power generation, especially through fossil fuels, biomass, and municipal and industrial waste, is known to lead to the emission of the following substances: Carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas, which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) – causes acid rain, which is harmful to plants and animals that live in water.
“Nitrogen oxides (NOx) – contribute to the degradation of ground-level ozone. Particulate matter (PM) – causes hazy conditions in cities and scenic areas.”