N10bn debt: Power investors struggle to beat deadline

Dr. Sam Amadi09 December 2013, Abuja – To avoid possible sanctions by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, private power investors that last week defaulted in remitting about N10bn to the Federal Government’s coffers struggled to beat the 24-hour deadline.

The actual amount remitted by the firms could, however, not be confirmed as of Sunday.

The commission had on Wednesday threatened to sanction errant firms if they failed to pay up their debts before 4pm on Thursday.

The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, had stated that the remittances were monies meant for services rendered to the companies by the government and directed the power firms to make the payment to the electricity Market Operator.

But Amadi, in a telephone chat with our correspondent on Sunday, said the electricity distribution companies had started complying.

He said, “I may not be able to give you the actual details now; but I believe they have started responding. I will call the Market Operator to get the actual facts and by Monday (today), we will know the true position of things.”

Last week, the NERC boss stated that out of the N12bn that was supposed to be remitted by the DISCOs, only N2bn was paid to the operator of the Nigerian electricity market as of Monday.

While condemning the development, Amadi stressed that the commission would not condone it and directed that the DISCOs should comply or face sanctions.

He said, “The MO is the one that receives these remittances and will have up-to-date information on the amount so far remitted. But as of Monday, the report from the MO is that only about N2bn has been paid and N10bn is outstanding.”

On the challenges hampering the firms from complying, the NERC boss said, “There are no valid excuses for not making remittances and we have written a letter to them giving a deadline of 4pm on Thursday. This is for all the required remittances to be made to the MO’s account.”

Some of the operators had, prior to NERC’s threat, lamented the “overwhelming problems” which they encountered since they took over the privatised power firms on November 1, 2013.

– The Punch

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