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Total blackout imminent as power firms battle N400bn debt

20 November 2016, 10:24

Abuja - Nigeria may be set for a total blackout as power generation as well as distribution companies say over N400bn debts are stifling their operations, Punch reports.

While GENCOs’ debt is put at over N300bn, DISCOs have complained of being owed over N100bn by customers.

With such a huge debt burden, the power firms said they lack the funding required for their operations, including the purchase of equipment and spare parts.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, said, “The debt is over N300bn that GENCOs are being owed. If the situation is not checked, there will be blackout. It is so imminent that I don’t know if most of the generation we are having now can go beyond Christmas if the payment problem is not solved. We can’t pay contractors; most of the machines are packing up.”

Ogaji said the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc should be blamed for the problem, saying, “As GENCOs, we don’t really have any direct relationship with DISCOs at the moment; GENCOs are meant to generate power and government brought NBET as a wholesaler, which 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.

News24 previously reported that Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) disclosed that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal, state and local government, including military and paramilitary formations in the country owe a total of N58 billion in unpaid electricity bills.

Of the amount, the Nigerian Army is said to owe eight out of the 11 Discos a total of N15 billion most of which dates back to 2013.

Giving a breakdown of the debt profil, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, said the Nigerian Army owe the Benin Disco N2.3 billion, Eko Disco N1.9 billion and Ikeja Disco N1.6 billion.

- News 24

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