National blackout imminent over 92% payment shortfall to Gencos

Nigerian electricity consumers might soon be thrown into a nationwide blackout following a recent warning letter to power generation companies (Gencos) for termination of gas supplies contract over mounting debt, Daily Sun has learnt.

It was revealed that the precarious situation of the Gencos was, further compounded by the 92 per cent payment shortfall made to them by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc for December 2017 electricity market payments which was released yesterday.

Confirming the developments to Daily Sun in a telephone interview, Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, admitted the 92 per cent payment shortfall for Genco invoices for December stressing that only a paltry 8.25 per cent payment was actually made by NBET.

According to the December 2017 electricity market payments released by NBET yesterday, the 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. But NBET, in an explanatory note, stated that the payments made to Gencos were as a result of receipts from the Distribution Companies (Discos).

It stated further that it received late payment (after the due date) for December 2017 cycle from Abuja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt Discos, which paid NBET N4.47 billion for the December invoices of N50.21 billion representing 8.91 per cent. But Ogaji warned against the consequences of the illiquidity among Gencos, saying the situation looks gloomy while the future appears bleak because the situation has not in any way improved over time.

She lamented that the sector is in a conundrum because there is available capacity for about 7,000 mega watts, but the inability of the transmission network to accommodate same remained a source of concern to Gencos. ‘‘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.’’

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