Energy Market and Rates Consultants (EMRC) has said that states in the country need to adopt some strategies as they implement the 2023 Electricity Act.
According to a July 27 report titled; “Empowering State Governments: A New Era of State Participation in the Nigerian Electricity Sector”, the EMRC noted that through these strategies, states can effectively navigate the path towards establishing their electricity frameworks, promoting local economic development, enhancing energy autonomy, and contributing to Nigeria’s overall power sector growth.
The EMRC report recommends the development of a comprehensive strategic plan outlining each state’s vision, goals, and objectives for participating in the electricity sector.
This plan should consider factors such as energy demand, energy targets (renewable and nonrenewable), infrastructure requirements, and policy frameworks.
It should provide a roadmap for implementation and guide decision-making throughout the process.
The EMRC report advises state governments to engage relevant stakeholders, including industry players, regulatory bodies, local communities, and consumer groups.
According to the EMRC, collaboration and consultation with these stakeholders will help ensure alignment, address concerns, and create a supportive environment for state participation.
The report also stated that regular communication channels should be established to foster ongoing dialogue and transparency.
The report also highlighted the need to foster collaboration and partnerships with other states, federal entities, international organizations, and the private sector.
According to the report, states must explore opportunities for joint projects, resource sharing, and collective bargaining to maximize the benefits of collaboration.
According to the EMRC report, existing regulatory frameworks require a comprehensive review and necessary amendments to incorporate state participation effectively.
This involves the creation of well-defined guidelines, streamlined licensing procedures, and regulatory processes tailored to state-owned or state-regulated entities.
The primary aim of this regulatory framework should be to foster equitable competition, ensure consumer protection, enhance operational efficiency, and simultaneously empower states to fulfil their energy-related goals.
The EMRC report highlighted the significance of evaluating the current infrastructure and pinpointing gaps or sectors that necessitate improvements.
This task can be accomplished by focusing on the advancement, upkeep, and enlargement of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution systems in order to fulfil the state’s energy demands.
Additionally, the report emphasized that collaboration with federal bodies, private investors, and global collaborators holds the potential to effectively marshal the essential resources for infrastructure enhancement.
The EMRC report advised states to conduct financial feasibility studies to determine the financial requirements and sustainability of state participation initiatives.
States can also explore funding options such as public-private partnerships, concessional loans, grants, and revenue-sharing mechanisms.
The EMRC also noted that states must develop robust financial management strategies to ensure the long-term viability of state-owned or state-regulated entities in the electricity sector.
States must invest in building the technical and managerial capacity of state government officials and employees involved in the electricity sector.
This can be achieved through training programs, workshops, and knowledge-sharing initiatives.
Also, enhancing technical expertise, project management skills, and regulatory knowledge will strengthen the state’s ability to effectively participate in the sector.
Monitoring and evaluation
States need to establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to track the progress, effectiveness, and impact of state participation initiatives.
They must regularly assess the performance of state-owned or state-regulated entities, review policy outcomes, and make necessary adjustments to ensure continuous improvement.
According to the EMRC report, the monitoring and evaluation process should include key performance indicators, data collection mechanisms, and regular reporting.
Public awareness and engagement
States must conduct public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the benefits of state participation in the electricity sector and engage the public through transparent communication channels, public consultations, and feedback mechanisms.
They must also encourage consumer participation and create awareness about energy conservation, renewable energy adoption, and sustainable practices.
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