By Concise News correspondents
Unless there is an urgent government intervention, Nigeria is about to witness a catastrophic national power blackout before the end of 2016, Concise News gathers. This impending total blackout is because GENCOs and DISCOS are about to crumble under the weight of debts owed them.
According to various sources in the power sector, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as the military formations are allegedly owing distribution companies (DISCOS) N100bn in electricity bills.
This developments has resulted in the DISCOS being unable to meet up with their obligation of paying generation companies (GENCOS) for service rendered to them.
The GENCOS in return are threatening to totally wind down their operations as they are starved of the much needed fund to sustain their business operations.
“If the situation is not checked, there will be blackout,” the executive secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogajia told Punch newspaper.
“It is so imminent that I don’t know if most of the generation we are having now can go beyond Christmas. Unless the payment problem is solved. We can’t pay contractors; most of the machines are packing up.”
“As GENCOs, we don’t really have any direct relationship with DISCOs at the moment. The claim on whether DISCOs are remitting money or not should not be the problem of the GENCOS. It is that of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc (NBET).”
NBET the culprit?
Dr. Ogajia also said that GENCOs are meant to just generate power. Government, through NBET as a wholesaler, takes all the power being generated by GENCOs and sells to the DISCOs. So the onus lies on NBET to collect the money from the DISCOs and remit to the GENCOS.
Concise news recalls that NBET is a wholly federal government owned company.
“Government told us that NBET is properly capitalized and has enough money to meet all of the GENCOs’ payments. But unfortunately, NBET has not been able to do that,” Dr. Ogajia added.
Concise News efforts to reach NBET proved abortive, but Punch claims an official at NBET who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the debt owed GENCOS is primarily because of the inability of the DISCOs to make the required remittances to the NBET.
The NBET source said that regardless of the fact that the organisation was established to support the power sector financially, the bulk electricity trader would not use taxpayers’ money to settle the huge debts owed the GENCOS.
Concise News recall that in the past one week two DISCOS have openly complained about frustrations in sustaining their operations. The Port Harcourt distribution company PHEDC complained of N2.2bn monthly loss as a result of energy theft. Also, the Ibadan distribution company IBEDC complained that it could hardly recoup 30% of bills due to energy theft.
So, unless something is done urgently to arrest the situation, the GENCOS may make good their threat to wind down operation. If done, this will throw the whole country into total blackout.