14 March 2017, Abuja – The top 100 customers of power distribution companies in Nigeria owe the firms N51bn, the Federal Government has said.
It stated that the main debtors were the military and defence installations across the country, adding that the amount was arrived at after the verification team on the ongoing audit of the debt owed the power firms came up with its findings.
The government disclosed this in a communique issued by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on Monday after the end of the 13th monthly meeting between the ministry and operators in the power sector.
The communique read in part, “The meeting received a report on the ongoing audit of debts owed to the distribution companies by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The verification team received claims currently estimated at N59.3bn, subject to further review. The report noted that 86 per cent of the debt, N51bn, was owed by the top 100 customers, mainly composed of military and defence installations around the country.
“As further demonstration of government’s determination to lead by example with regards to payment for electricity delivered, the report stated that all verified bills will be recommended for payment on a first come, first serve basis.”
The Federal Government had at the 12th monthly meeting with the power sector players directed the Discos to come up with verified claims on what was owed them by the MDAs.
The communique noted that the Federal Government’s decision to support the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc with N701bn over two years was for it to pay the generation companies for electricity produced under the power purchase agreements.
“The initiative does not discharge the obligation of the Discos to pay their invoices to the market operator for services provided by the transmission service provider, independent system operator, and to the NBET for the electricity generated, transmitted and delivered to customers,” it stated.
It added that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission reported an improved compliance with the submission of audited accounts since the last meeting.
The meeting agreed that NERC would more rigorously perform regulatory duties and tasked the commission to standardise reporting on financial performance, safety and customer service as a fair basis for ranking distribution companies and other industry operators.