16 July 2015, Abuja – The Federal Government has ordered power distribution firms to remit the outstanding amounts for capacity and energy supplied to them since February this year before the close of business on Friday, July 24, 2015.
For about five months, electricity distribution companies in the country had failed to remit funds meant for the government, a development that had led to serious liquidity squeeze in different agencies under the Federal Ministry of Power.
On Tuesday, the Discos declared that it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to meet their operational payment obligations.
It was gathered that the decision that the Discos must clear their debts before July 24 was communicated to them after a meeting between the power firms and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja.
In an email message to our correspondent on Wednesday, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc stated that it was urged to extend the payment deadline by the Discos.
It stated, “At the monthly Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry stakeholders’ meeting held by the NERC, the NBET was urged to extend the payment deadline due to the limitations some of the Discos have in accessing their funds as a result of the CBN hold on their accounts (a requirement of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility).
“The NBET has now extended the payment deadline on the Demand Notice to July 24, 2015.”
The bulk trader had early last week issued a Demand Notice to the Discos, directing them to clear their outstanding debts on or before Friday, July 10, 2015.
It was learnt that although the invoices that were issued to the distribution companies were for the months of February, March and April, there was no sign that the firms would comply when invoices for the month of May would be ready and made available to them.
The NBET had stated that “the average payments by the Discos for the corresponding months were 80 per cent in February, 70 per cent in March and 54 per cent in April.”
In another development, the Transmission Company of Nigeria on Wednesday declared that it was not indebted to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company with respect to electricity generated and supplied to the national grid.
It said reports that it was indebted to the NDPHC were not true as the debts in question were market debts owed by the distribution companies.
The firm stated in a statement, “For the avoidance of doubt, the TCN, like the NDPHC, is a participant in the Nigerian electricity market, and is also owed several billions of naira by the market. It is important to note that the debt under reference is technically a market debt, which has resulted from insufficient remittance from distribution companies for electricity generated and supplied.
“However, current information available indicates that the debts to the NDPHC, TCN and other parties are being seriously addressed by the relevant agencies, including NERC and the Federal Ministry of Power.”