Electricity Regulatory Transfer: NSE Praises Aiyedatiwa, Ariyomo, Ajulo, Others for Epic Accomplishments

By: Our Reporter

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Akure Branch, has issued a formal statement on the Implications of a recent order from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) transferring regulatory oversight function to Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau (BUREAU).

The NSE in the statement welcomed the recent authorization for the transfer of regulatory oversight, for the electricity market within Ondo State, from NERC to the Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau, the first state-owned electricity regulatory agency in Nigeria.

According to the statement released in Akure this weekend by Engr. Adebanji Oluwaseun, MNSE, the Publicity Secretary of the Akure Branch of the NSE, the Society noted in particular the abysmal failure of electricity supplies to different parts of the state, in the past 16 years, especially Ondo South and parts of Ondo North.

The statement noted the “impunity with which power service providers have treated the people with an absolute lack of fear of consequences and their notorious refusal to energise completed substations and community transformers across the state in the past 16 years despite huge investments by the government and people of Ondo State”.

The statement stated that the NSE considers the recent authorization by NERC “a groundbreaking development for the energy landscape of Ondo State, to have the regulatory oversight functions over the electricity sector officially transferred to the Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau”.

“This historic move, effective as of Monday, April 22, 2024, marks a significant milestone in the state’s journey towards self-regulation and improved electricity governance”.

The NSE in the statement commended “
the Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau for initiating this transition process as early as August 2023,. This transfer of regulatory oversight stands as a testament to the state’s proactive approach and commitment to enhancing its energy infrastructure, regulation and management”.

The Publicity Secretary added that “Out of the 36 states in Nigeria, Ondo State led the charge in advocating for this crucial change and the decentralisation of the regulation and management of the power sector, underscoring the state’s dedication to serving its residents with reliable and sustainable electricity”.

The statement praised the “courageous action of the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration on the 31st of December 2020 in assenting the law which resulted in the creation of the first state electricity regulatory agency in Nigeria, the Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau, by invoking Sections 14, 15 and 16 of Part 2 Second Schedule of the Constitution under concurrent legislative list, before the amendment of the Constitution, an action that had domino impacts across many states that thereafter started enacting their local electricity legislations independent of the Federal Act. Many states indeed obtained copies of the Ondo State laws for their guidance. Some had to compare what Ondo State did in its autonomous electricity market laws with the embedded laws previously passed by Lagos State”.

The NSE subsequently “commends key participants that were instrumental in this endeavor including volunteers such as Engr Desmenu Idowu of Anyigba IEDN, Mr. Odion Omonfoma of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, and Prof. Yemi Oke, Professor of Energy Law at UNILAG, whose contributions were vital to the success of this initiative”.

The NSE stated further that “at the heart of this transition however lies the Ondo State Electric Power Sector Law 2020, crafted, defended, and implemented by Engr. Olatunji Ariyomo, FNSE the pioneer Special Adviser on Energy in Ondo State. The NSE commends this our senior colleague who despite pockets of resistance, his tenacity and wisdom has turned him into a man who saw tomorrow or a man who could create tomorrow. The Ondo State power law which seed was sowed in 2020 has now served as the foundation and the legal framework necessary for Ondo State, alongside Ekiti and Enugu States, to receive the Order for regulatory oversight transfer. While many had hitherto assumed that power was on the exclusive legislative list, the Ondo State Electricity law exposed everyone to the realization that electricity had always been on the concurrent legislative list. We appreciate the works of the former Adviser at the state level and his role in the amendment of the Constitution to pave the way for the decentralisation of power in Nigeria”.

Furthermore, the Society extended special commendation “to the Governor of Ondo State, Honourable Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa, for his visionary leadership and unwavering support throughout this process. Additionally, gratitude is expressed to Engr Razaq Obe, the pioneer Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, and Engr Alabi Johnson, the Special Adviser on Energy, for their invaluable contributions to the advancement of the state’s energy sector. Also worthy of commendation is Dr. Kayode Ajulo, SAN who was one of the lawyers that reviewed the Ondo State Electricity Law 2020 as a private person but now charged with providing legal guidance for the state in his capacity as the Attorney General of Ondo State”.

The NSE also applauded “the State Coordinator of Ondo State Electricity Regulatory Bureau, Engr Stephen Olugbenga Bolawole FNSE, for his dedication and perseverance, which played a pivotal role in driving this initiative forward”.

“We also express our appreciation to Engr. Ezekiel Oloruntola, our immediate past Chairman, Engr. Oloruntoba Abe, FNSE the pioneer MD of the Ondo State Power Company, Engr. Olumayowa Ajumobi, MNSE, Dr. (Mrs) Tolulope Fadipe, and members of their teams whose support for the reforms in 2020/2021 provided a rallying point for engineers across the state”.

On the implications of the development, the engineering body said “with regulatory oversight now in the hands of the state, Ondo State is poised to usher in a new era of electricity governance, characterized by enhanced oversight of distribution companies, grid expansion, prompt resolution of consumer complaints, and the gradual elimination of estimated billings. No doubt, the state is now better positioned to earn additional new revenues, witness several emergent new businesses as well as create hundreds of new job opportunities for its youths”.

“This landmark achievement signifies a significant step forward for Ondo State’s Electric Power Sector, offering congratulations to all electricity consumers as they embark on a journey towards a more reliable and inclusive energy future’, the statement added.

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