A new report has shown that three countries - the Republic of Niger, the Republic of Benin and the Togolese Republic - are owing Nigeria an electricity debt of N5.8 billion.
Daily Trust reports that the debt is an outstanding payment from the three countries from a 2020 invoice of N16.31 billion issued to them by the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) for the year.
The report which was released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for 2020 said that the companies for each of the countries are Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (SNE), Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET) respectively.
According to the NERC report, the remittances made by the countries showed that the Nigerian Market Operator (MO) gave the countries N16.31bn from which they paid N10.45bn for the services received from MO.
In addition, the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited which is termed a special customer in Nigeria, and its host community did not pay any amount after it consumed N1.08bn worth of electricity in the same year.
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The report noted that the invoice from Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) to the company stood at N930 million while that of MO was N150 million.
Recommendation by NERC
Following the huge amount of debt owed by the countries and companies, the NERC recommended that MO and NBET must activate the relevant safeguards against continued non-settlement of market obligations by these market participants.
In the same year, the commission also issued five new generation licences and renewed three others which would add 667.70 megawatts (MW) to the grid.
The new licences, the report suggested can add 235MW while the renewed licences were for 346MW capacity of electricity generation.
NERC also gave approval to 33 Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) and certified 17 Meter Service Providers (MSPs) while the report detailed that 537,400 meters were installed for consumers in 2020, a 60.4 per cent higher figure than the 334,896 meters installed in 2019.
It added that irrespective of the huge metering gap for end-use customers which is still a key challenge in the industry, registered customers grew to 11,841,819 (11.8m) in 2020 but just 4,666,191 (4.6m) or 39.40 per cent of them were metered.
“Therefore, 60.60 per cent of the registered electricity customers are on estimated billing contributing to apathy toward payment for electricity bills."
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According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigeria has a total of 8, 310,408 registered active electricity customers.