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Darkness looms in Nigeria as huge debt may distort gas supplies contract to Gencos

Following debt build up to the tune of over 92% payment shortfall to power generation companies (Gencos)  by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, indications emerged on Tuesday that nationwide light out is underway.

It was gathered that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc in the month of December 2017, had made 92 per cent payment shortfall and the negative payment is frustrating the the ability of Gencos to maintain steady rise in power generation.

Besides, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, who admitted the 92 per cent payment shortfall for Gencos invoices for December, revealed that only a paltry 8.25 per cent payment was actually made by NBET.

The December 2017 electricity market payments released by NBET, recorded that 25 Genco invoices for December 2017 amounted to N54,242,749,563.22 while payment made was N4,476,404,925.21 representing 8.25 per cent of total bill.

However, NBET, in an explanatory note, stated that the payments made to Gencos were as a result of receipts from the Distribution Companies (Discos).

Otherwise, the payment shortfall originated form Discos who buy bulk power and sheds from Gencos.

Within the paltry 8.25 per cent already paid for December 2017 cycle, Discos that paid include Abuja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt Discos.

Otherwise, the four Discos paid NBET N4.47 billion for the December invoices of N50.21 billion representing 8.91 per cent.

Accordingly, Ogaji warned against the consequences of the illiquidity among Gencos, saying the situation looks gloomy while the future appears bleak because the payment situation has not in any way improved over time.

Apart from the payment crisis, NBET averred that another issue frustrating the targeted steady power supply across the nation remains the inability of the transmission network to accommodate available capacity for about 7,000 mega watts.

Only recently, the federal government secured some foreign grants from the US and others to upgrade the transmission infrastructure nationwide.

Mrs. Ogaji noted that “there is always the constant issue of blame game among some operators within the power sector value chain. Transmission will blame Discos that they lack the wheeling capacity to take power sent to them while Discos will equally claim that they can take power sent to them but transmission is not sending. For generation, we all know that the capacity is ever available.”

Efforts to find out when the government will begin upgrade of transmission infrastructure were not successful.