By Oke Peter
Power distribution companies in the country failed to remit a total of N325.54bn to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) for the electricity sold to them from January to October last year.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the Discos, which then supply it to the consumers.
The Discos were given invoices of N459.67 billion in the 10-month period but only paid N134.13 billion, which left a balance of unremitted N325.54 billion, data obtained from the bulk trader by our correspondent showed.
In January, seven Discos, namely Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt Discos, did not make any remittance to NBET.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said in its latest quarterly report that while the low remittance by the Discos to NBET and the Market Operator was partly due to tariff shortfall, the Discos must improve on their technical and commercial efficiencies for improvements on the payment obligation to the market, thereby improving sector liquidity.
“A major initiative towards improving revenue collection in the electricity industry is the provision of meters to all registered end-use consumers of electricity,” it added.
According to the report, the challenge of poor remittance has remained a serious concern to the commission as it is one of the main causes of the liquidity crisis facing the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
It said, “Low remittance adversely affects the ability of NBET to honour its obligations to Gencos while service providers (Transmission Service Provider, MO and NERC) struggle with the paucity of funds impacting their capacity to perform their statutory obligations.
“To address the poor remittance by Discos, the commission has commenced enforcement actions against Discos found to have engaged in unacceptably low remittances to NBET and the MO, factoring in all the parameters embedded in the tariff model.
“In this regard, the commission is finalising a framework which ensures transparency and equity in the disbursement of market funds for the benefit of all participants in the industry.”