The privatization of public interests in the power sector, the traditional huge debts by government agencies have buoyed
Agencies of federal government including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as the military owe the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) across the country princely N32 billion.
The staggering figure was dropped by the Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr. Sunday Oduntan, who explained that MDAs are DISCOs’ worst customers.
“N32 billion is still outstanding as federal government’s MDAs debt. It has not been paid till now. That N32 billion means a lot to us. If we have that money, we can buy meters and share to our customers. Before I started shouting in the mass media, we had serious issue with MDAs.
“The military especially felt it is their right not to pay for the power they consume forgetting that the current power sector is under the private sector. In the budget, they actually have allowances for utility bills’ payment. These military formations especially in Ikeja and Eko Electricity Distribution companies, and even across the country are metered; therefore, it is not that they are on estimated billing or over-billed, and don’t have reasons not to pay,” Oduntan said.
He added that, “We had a meeting with the federal government presided over by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and he listened to all sides (all the stakeholders) including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Market Operators, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), generating and distribution companies. We all tabled our problems and the government has started looking at those issues; he promised us that the MDAs will pay the debts. I can assure that this government seems to be very serious, determined and sincere to provide electricity.”
Oduntan said the commercial losses are very high citing a DISCO that bought electricity worth of N3.2 billion and after preparing the billing, it got N2.6 billion leaving it with a deficit of N600 million.
“Out of the N2.6 billion bills it prepared, it would not be able to collect all of them due to non-payment as some customers aren’t willing to pay. This happens because some big men, welders and battery chargers, among others, bypass their meters. Out of the N2.6 billion bills you prepare, you would not be able to collect all of them due to non-payment as some customers aren’t willing to pay,” he added.
Oladele Amoda, Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) also stated that his company will remove payment of fixed charges by customers in the network. Amoda stated that once the customers approve the company’s proposed new tariff and NERC endorses it; the management will remove the fixed charges paid by the customers. The management of EKEDC has had several of such meetings where the customers agreed it should scale up the tariff but there must be commensurate power supply. The last meeting was to let the customers see and deliberate on the proposed tariff.