The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, has decried the yawning gap in the electricity market between the industrial operators and consumers, which has denied the latter a credible broad based advocacy for electricity.
Dr Amadi, who made the observation during an interactive session in Abuja on Tuesday, with members of the civil society organisations, representatives of industrial, commercial and residential electricity consumers, said:
‘’One of the observable gaps in the emergent electricity market in Nigeria is the absence of knowledgeable, credible and broad based advocacy for electricity consumers.”
The NERC boss, who further noted that information asymmetry was not in the interest of electricity market, recommended geographical or occupational clusters of knowledgeable consumer advocates as needful to galvanise accessibility and reliability of service in the market.
He, however, cautioned that efforts at establishing a virile consumer advocacy groups should be based on rational economic decisions rather than an attempt at instigating the consumers against the operators.
According to him, “there is a noticeable under-representation of consumer voice, with superficial and adversarial tendency that lacks impact.
“This is in sharp contrast to the powerful position of the service providers, who though few in number, have the fund and negotiating power to push their demands, thus, a deficit in the democracy of the electricity market.”
‘’A deficit occurs when the ordinary processes of governance of an institution creates and reinforces dis empowerment of critical stakeholders of an institution. In this case, the system is the Nigerian electricity market and the critical stakeholder that is dis-empowered, is the consumer’’, Amadi said.
A concept note on the formation of an advocacy network to be fine-tuned by a 15-man committee of the various advocacy groups present at the interactive session, is expected to be produced and presented during a reconvened session at a later date.
The network is expected to develop and implement a robust work plan, to educate electricity consumers on their rights and privileges about critical electricity issues and conduct regular studies aimed at market issues on a sustainable basis.