The governments of West Africa have approved cost-reflective tariffs for power utilities in the sub-region as well as subsidies to support low-income power users, the West Africa Power Pool announced.
WAPP is a specialised agency of the Economic Community of West African States and it covers 14 of the 15 countries of the regional economic community.
The Chairman of WAPP, who doubles as the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Mohammed, also disclosed that from 2020, the 14 ECOWAS countries would be interconnected in terms of power transmission and supply.
Mohammed spoke at the kick-off meeting for the synchronisation of the WAPP network in Abuja, which had in attendance senior government officials from the 14-member countries of ECOWAS involved in the project.
He said, “The task of integrating the West African energy systems is very serious. Last year, we submitted the 2018 generation and transmission master plan that include the 2019 to 2033 generation and transmission master plan in West Africa.
“We submitted this with three directives and all of these plans were approved by the governments and the heads of state of ECOWAS at their meeting on December 22, 2018 without any change. They approved everything and that means that our governments are actually behind what we are doing.”
Mohammed added, “This directive include the fact that all countries in West Africa will allow for all utilities to have their revenue requirements.
“This means that our governments have approved that we would have cost-reflective tariffs across the region and the affected countries must budget for subsidy in a transparent manner.
“Also, all utilities in West Africa must adopt competitive procurement in their services. These are the three directives that were approved together with the 2018 generation and transmission master plan of ECOWAS.
“I am happy to tell you that we have immediately started the implementation of the master plan.”
He explained that the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market was inaugurated in June 2018 as part of efforts to ensure the realisation of the mandate given to the WAPP by the authority of the heads of state and government of the ECOWAS about two decades ago.
He noted that WAPP was mandated to establish a mechanism and institutional framework for integrating the national power systems of ECOWAS member states into a unified regional electricity market.
The aim of this, according to Mohammed, is to address the energy needs of the ECOWAS citizens by providing in the medium and long term, a regular and reliable energy at competitive cost.