The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading plc (NBET) confirmed that only four out of the eleven distribution companies (DisCos) remitted part of their bulk energy payments for the month of January 2018 as against six DisCos that remitted for the month of December 2017.
The report released on NBET’s website shows that seven DisCos had failed to remit any payment for the energy invoice of January 2018. The report showed that Enugu DisCo remitted 29.24 per cent of its invoice, Abuja DisCo 18.60 per cent Port Harcourt DisCo 15.06 per cent, and Jos DisCo 9.09 per cent. Those without any remittance were Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Kaduna, Kano and Yola DisCos.
Prior to now the GenCos had threatened to shut down operations on the basis of low remittance from NBET to pay for their gas supplies. NBET claimed that they were not receiving sufficient payment from the DisCos for energy supplied to them. If this trend of little or no remittance continues it means that the GenCos shut down is imminent.
In December 2017, five of the DisCos failed to pay anything for over N16.2 billion electricity delivered to them by the Generation Companies (GenCos). The electricity market performance crashed to eight per cent, raising fears of a sector collapse among the operators. Records from NBET then showed that two other DisCos made late payments after the due date while four others remitted varying percentages of their energy invoice figures.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), at the February power sector meeting, said it was going to implement sanctions against the DisCos for the poor remittances but no such sanction has been officially released.
Those indicted in the zero remittance for December were Ikeja, Kaduna and Kano, which are also caught in non-remittance for January 2018. Jos DisCo, which failed completely in December, however, remitted nine per cent in January while there was no record for Yola DisCo which had also failed in December 2017.
As the non-payment conundrum lingers, the GenCos are still in court over poor payment for the energy they delivered to DisCos. They had accused NBET of full payment to a new GenCo while the privatised GenCos got 80 per cent payment. But the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had said his administration ensured that the GenCos now get 80 per cent instead of the paltry 30 per cent with now only eight per cent payment made by the DisCos.
At the March power sector meeting in Akwa Ibom, the minister cited some interventions of the Federal Government to ensure the 23 GenCos have better operating environment with the N701 billion Payment Assurance Guarantee (PAG) initiated in 2017.
He said, “They must explain to this public court whether they went to court before government approved a N701 billion Payment Assurance Guarantee to pay their monthly power bills.