The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday rejected the notice of declaration of force majeure that was recently issued to the Federal Government by the 10 electricity distribution companies in the country.
It also stated that it had commenced immediate regulatory measures to protect the electricity market from potentially collapsing as a result of the force majeure by the Discos.
The PUNCH reported exclusively on Tuesday that the electricity distributors issued a notice to declare force majeure following the earlier declaration by NERC that eligible customers could purchase power directly from the generating companies.
Force majeure are unexpected circumstances that can be used as an excuse to prevent a party from doing something written in a contract.
According to NERC, the Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Jos, Benin, Ikeja, Ibadan and Eko Discos have conveyed their notice of force majeure to the Bureau of Public Enterprises on grounds of changes in the laws of the power market.
It stated that only the Yola Disco, which is currently under the control of the Federal Government, was not part of the decision by the other firms.
NERC’s Commissioner for Licencing, Legal and Compliance, Mr. Dafe Akpeneye, said this on the sidelines of a consultative workshop for industry stakeholders at the commission’s office in Abuja.
He stated, “Under no circumstance would we sit down and allow an industry that is critical and affects all Nigerians to delve into uncertainty. The legal issues, as they are now, are mainly between the BPE and investors in the Discos, but NERC is watching very closely and will not allow the market to go under.
“The threat of force majeure declaration arose on the grounds of change of law and political issues on the new eligible customers’ regulation that was released a couple of weeks ago. But we need to bear in mind that there was a consultative process and the Discos participated in it.
“The regulations were issued to ensure that we optimise our generation capacity by ensuring that what the Gencos generate can go to customers through direct contract with the Gencos, and thereby bypassing the Discos, but this is not a total bypass because if the Discos’ assets will be used, they will be paid for as well as the assets of the TCN.”