Togo, Benin, Niger’s electricity debts profile to Nigeria hit N32.04bn in one year

The debt profile of three of Nigeria’s international electricity customers – Togo, Republic of Benin and Niger – has hit  N32.04 billion in just one year.

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which disclosed this in its latest  report sighted on its website on Sunday, declared that debts which was for power supply to the neighbouring countries in 2019 alone, has contributed to financial burden threatening the sustainability of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

The commission had, proor to this, said that the three countries classified as international customers owe Nigeria N29.97 billion through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

The Communaute Electrique du Benin, a power firm owned by Togo and Benin, according to the NERC data, did not pay N9.74 billion for the power supplied to it in the first quarter; N7.16 billion in the second quarter; and N2.27 billion in the third quarter.

It, however, did not receive any invoice for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Niger’s power firm, Societe Nigerienne electricity, failed to pay a total invoice of N3.01 billion it received in the first quarter of 2019; N3.69 billion in the second quarter, N4.1 billion in the third quarter and N2.07 in the fourth quarter.

The special and international class of customers made no payment to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and the Market Operator, NERC said in the quarterly report.

The report issued quarterly by the power industry regulator analyses the state of the Nigerian electricity industry (covering both the operational and commercial performance), regulatory functions, consumer affairs as well as the commission’s finances and staff development.

“The Federal Government has continued to engage the governments of neighbouring countries benefitting from the export supply to ensure timely payments for the electricity purchased from Nigeria,” it said.

Like its last report, the commission laments that the financial viability of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry is still a major challenge threatening its sustainability.

“As highlighted in the preceding quarterly reports, the liquidity challenge is partly due to the non-implementation of cost-reflective tariffs, high technical and commercial losses exacerbated by energy theft and consumers’ apathy to payments under the widely prevailing practice of estimated billing.

“The severity of the liquidity challenge in NESI was reflected in the settlement rates of the energy invoices issued by NBET to each of the DisCos as highlighted above, as well as the non-payment by the special and international customers”.

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