The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has raised concerns over destruction of electricity facilities due to engineering and construction works across the country.
According to its Acting Chairman/CEO, Dr Anthony Akah, who spoke recently on the negative effects of roads and infrastructure built on electricity equipment, the tampering with electricity facilities, had caused health and safety concerns; unplanned outages of electricity supply to consumers, endangered the lives of the public and staff of the utilities, and also affected the revenue inflow from the electricity market.
He said the situation had deteriorated into distorting the growth and development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission was established by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005 to regulate the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to amongst other things ensure the safety, security, reliability and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to consumers.
The Commission therefore called the attention of the general public to the provisions of S.79 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 which prohibits any person from constructing or extending any railway, road or works for telecommunications without notifying the Commission.
For ease of reference, S.79 (1) states as follows:
“Any person who desires to construct or extend any railway, road or any works for telecommunications shall:
(a) Give one month’s notice in writing to the Commission of his intention to commence such construction; and,
(b) Furnish the Commission with a plan of the proposed railway, road or telecommunication works, together with the particulars showing the manner and position in which the railway, road or telecommunication works are intended to be constructed or extended and carried on and such further information as the Commission may require; provided that this subsection shall not apply to the construction or extension of works or telecommunications works as may be prescribed by the Commission.”
Furthermore, S.79 (2) adds that: If it appears to the Commission that:
(a) the operation of or the equipment to be used in connection with railway, road or telecommunication works referred to in subsection (1) of this section is likely to affect injuriously or interfere with the work or maintenance of electricity lines or the carrying on by a licensee of a system;
or (b) any electricity line is being affected injuriously or interfered with by the construction or operation of or the equipment used in connection with: (i) a railway, road or telecommunication work referred to in subsection (1); or (ii) any railway, road or telecommunication works or other operations whatsoever; the Commission shall notify, in writing, the person constructing or operating the railway or works, of the action which that person is required to take in order to remedy or prevent the injury or interference.
“Federal and state ministries, construction companies, private investors, and the general public are required to take note and ensure compliance”, he said.