Power distribution companies in the country failed to pay a total of N158.98bn to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc for the bills given to them for electricity for the first five months of the year.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells to the Discos, and they supply to consumers.
The Discos were given bills of N230.27bn from January to May but only paid N71.29bn, data gotten from the bulk trader showed by our correspondent
In January, seven Discos, namely Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt Discos, did not make any payment to NBET.
The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, in a telephone interview said, “When people talk about payment, as distributors, gathering money from customers and then paying to the value chain through NBET.
“So, NBET expects us to pay 100 percent but we can’t because the product is not appropriately priced.
The market, as it is now, has a liquidity loss of N1.3tn.
We are buying electricity at a price that is more than the price at which we are selling.
If I buy at N80 per kilowatt/hour and selling at N31.56, when I sell to consumers, even if I am able to collect 100 percent, it means I will collect N31.56.
The person that sold to me at N80 is expecting N80.
Can I get N80 to pay; the answer is no.”
According to him, the major problem in the Nigerian power segment is the issue of liquidity, which resulted from the failure to align the segment properly.
“There is no way you can collect 100 percent of the electricity bill.
When people are given N7, 000 bill, they pay N4, 000 or N3, 000.
When we collect, we also have to take out our own operational expenses, and we remit what remains.
Therefore, it is not possible for Discos to remit 100 percent.”
The Discos wish they could pay 100 percent; they are not doing so because the market, is not allowing them to charge the suitable price for the product.
So, we need to readjust the segment so that it can be liquid.
That is the problem; it is not that we don’t want to pay.