Power firms owe govt N10bn in monthly remmittances

Chinedu Nebo

Power Minister Prof Chinedu Nebo

19 December 2013, Abuja – About 60 per cent of the power investors that recently bought over the electricity distribution companies have yet to make the required remittances for the month of November to the Federal Government.

Of the N12bn meant to be remitted to the Operator of the Nigerian Electricity Market for the month, only N2bn had been paid as of the beginning of December.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had threatened to sanction the defaulting firms, a development that made some of them to promptly pay up, but the NERC has yet to sanction any of the defaulters.

Our correspondent gathered on Wednesday that only 40 per cent of the distribution firms had so far complied with the directive to pay up.

Speaking on the sidelines of a sensitisation workshop on the implementation of the interim electricity market rule, the Executive Director, ONEM, Mr. Jan Bagnall, said though some of the distribution companies had yet to pay up, the compliance level was better than what was recorded at the beginning of the month.

“My understanding, the last time I heard, was that the compliance level is 40 per cent, which is better than it was originally,” he said.

NERC had stated that the money was meant for services rendered to the companies by the government, which directed the power firms to make payments to the electricity market operator.

Bagnall noted that the ONEM was working hard to register all the market participants as stipulated by the market rules.

He said, “We have to get people registered; so, we know where to pay the bills and who to get the money from. We do not have that capability until we get all the market participants registered as per the rules.

“It is a necessity to get them registered. We do not have many registrations complete and it is absolutely imperative to get that going.”

He said the market operator had maintained an open door policy to all participants, stressing that the registration of power firms with the ONEM would enable it to “know who to contact, where to contact them, and what their bank accounts are so that we can either credit or debit the proper amounts for participating in the market.”

Bagnall added, “As an independent market operator, we have to know what is going on with the system until we get to a competitive generation. We are not there yet. Before now, some of the market participants were fully registered and less than 50 per cent have not registered.

“That is why we are having a concerted push. Right now, it is absolutely imperative that they register before the Transition Electricity Market. It is a condition precedent to get to the TEM. So, we need to have everybody registered before the TEM.”

Asked of what would be done to firms that failed to register with the market operator, he said, “If they don’t register, that will be pushed back to NERC to see if they can enforce the necessity to register. And that is what it is going to come down to.”


– The Punch

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