16th January, 2016
As at the end of 2015, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs as well as military establishments were yet to pay electricity debts that had risen to a total of over N45 billion.
Due to the huge size of the debt, electricity distributors have resorted to seeking the help of the Federal Government towards ensuring that the bill is paid.
The Distribution Companies which have been unable to boast optimal performance have blamed their plight on such issues as the inability to get adequate funding. The electricity distributors are further discouraged by the fact that government establishments and the military which should have been paying bills promptly because it has been provided for in their budget have turned out to be worst debtor-customers.
According to Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED the power distribution companies have been finding it almost impossible to collect payment for electricity supplied to agencies and establishments that are appendages of the Federal Government. ‘’This challenge has put the distribution companies under serious financial pressure because DISCOs are collection agents for the entire power industry and the shortfall in revenue collected affects the entire value chain,” says Oduntan.
The ANED Executive Director pointed out that if government can assist in making sure that these monies owed are paid, a significant part of the sum would be expended on the purchase of meters and other equipment that would further enhance appropriate billing which has since been a contentious issue.
Oduntan disclosed that at a recent meeting with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the stakeholders, including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, and the generating and distribution companies, were assured that the government establishments will pay the debts. ‘’However, we will ensure that we keep the discussion with government going until the debt is paid,” he said.