The Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) has warned of imminent blackout across the country as the huge debt burden owed the power companies takes toll on their operations.
According to the distribution companies, the burden has become unbearable due to the refusal of electricity consumers to pay their bills.
Electricity consumers across the country are owing electricity distribution companies over N100billion.
The Executive Director, Advocacy and Research, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr. Sunday Oduntan disclosed this during a customer consultative forum in Jos, Plateau State capital, accused the Nigerian Army of leading the debtors’ lists.
Some of the customers from Jebu Bassa, the host community of the Third Armored Division, had challenged the DisCos to explain the rationale behind constant electricity supply to the military barracks and the lack of it at their community.
“We tend to wonder why we the host community don’t have light, but our tenants in the barracks have constant light and we were told that soldiers in the barracks don’t even pay light bill, is it that the companies are afraid of them to cut their supplies as you do to other consumers?
Responding, Mr. Oduntan said: “Almost all the military barracks in Nigeria, not only that of Third Division, do not pay electricity bill and that is the major challenge before the DisCos.
“Military barracks across the country are owing us over N800 billion; they are the leading debtors to the the DisCos.
“We have put the total debt owed us by all categories of consumers across the country, and out of that debt, the military alone is owing over N800billion.
“It is not that we are afraid of cutting supply to the barracks, but for security reasons, we cannot cut electricity supply to the barracks. Part of the reason is because, the armouries are being maintained by electricity, to the extent that if there is no supply for a day, the armoury may explode and its explosion can endanger the lives of military and civilian population around the barracks.
“But then, the inability of concerned government agencies to pay up this debt may eventually force the DisCos out of business and there would be total blackout across the country.
“This is imminent because at the moment, we are heavily indebted to banks and electricity generating companies (GenCos) as well as those who supply gas and diesel to us. No bank will give us credit facilities to continue to distribute electricity because we have been unable to pay for our loans.”