The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday conducted a public hearing on a new State Electricity Bill 2024, which aims to repeal the existing 2018 power sector reform law.

Geared towards taking advantage of the 2023 Electricity Act, the bill aims to address electricity challenges, improve energy sustainability and foster economic growth in the state.

 Speaking at the event held in Ikeja, the Chairman of the Lagos State House Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Sabur Oluwa, said the bill sought to provide the creation and administration of the Lagos electricity market.

According to Oluwa, the bill seeks to create a commercial and technical regulatory framework for the electricity market and set up the state electrification fund to ensure reliable electricity supply to the unserved and underserved areas in the state.

Oluwa mentioned that under the 1999 Constitution, which placed electricity on the concurrent list, the bill proposed to establish the Lagos State Electricity Regulatory Authority to oversee the electricity market in the state, ensuring efficient and sustainable electricity.

“We are going to create a Lagos State Electricity Agency to manage public electricity work and infrastructure, as well as the Lagos State Electrification Fund. These institutions will play a pivotal role in the delivery of reliable electricity to our 21st-century and underserved areas of Lagos State.

 “Through this initiative, we aim to bridge the gap in electricity supply and enhance the quality of life for all Lagosians. We understand that reliable electricity is not an option; it is a necessity. It is the backbone of economic growth, social development, and improvement of standards.

“Therefore, this bill is not just about electricity. It is about empowering people, fostering economic development, and ensuring that Lagos has access to electricity at a wide scale,” he explained.

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, represented by the Assembly’s Deputy Speaker, Mojisola Meranda, stated that the bill was timely, as electrification is crucial for a viable economy and the well-being of the people.

He emphasised that the bill aligned with the Assembly’s commitment to improve the electricity situation in the state.

“With the Federal Government placing electricity on the concurrent list, the state has decided to take decisive action and set a standard for others to follow.

“The bill seeks to take care of everything in the electricity sector, majorly by contributing to the development of the state, to facilitate investment and innovation, facilitate the delivery of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern public electricity access to the people of in the state, and also establish a mechanism of electricity security in the state to promote the provision of off-grid solutions for household and micro, small and medium-scale enterprises in the states, and to promote the adoption of clean and modern technology for the provision and delivery of electricity access,” he said.

During the presentation of the bill, Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Noheem Adams, noted that the bill aimed to replace an earlier one submitted to the Assembly, noting that the new bill was focused on addressing the challenges hindering electricity generation in the state.

He added that the bill, which consists of 143 clauses across 21 parts, was designed to encourage investments, establish a commercial and technical regulatory framework for the electricity market, and modernise infrastructure to ensure a stable and sustainable electricity supply for Lagosians.

Stakeholders at the hearing asserted that once the bill is passed, it could attract investments, generate jobs, and enhance power reliability.

They commended the focus on renewable energy and sustainability.

The PUNCH reports that Lagos can only apply to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for an independent electricity regulatory body after the bill has been passed.

So far, only Enugu, Ondo, Ekiti and Imo States have been given the freedom to operate independent electricity market laws.