Thu, 25 Jul 2024

 

International consumers owe Nigeria $51m for electricity — FG
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Mon, 27 May 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

International consumers failed to remit about $51.26m to Nigeria for electricity exported from Nigeria to the power users in 2023, the Federal Government revealed in the latest industry data showing the non-remittances by the consumers.

Also, another group of customers categorised as bilateral power consumers did not remit about N7.61bn to the Nigerian power sector in 2023.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission condemned the development, describing it as a payment indiscipline that must be curtailed by the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, which is the firm in charge of Nigeria’s power export.

An analysis of the government’s industry data indicated that the international consumers failed to remit $16.11m, $11.97m, $11.16m, and $12.02m to Nigeria for the electricity exported to them in the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of 2023 respectively.

Similarly, bilateral consumers did not pay N827m, N2.03bn, N2.8bn, and N1.95bn to the Nigerian government for electricity sold to them in the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of last year.

Nigeria lacks adequate power to meet the electricity demand of citizens in the country. But industry players explained that the country exports electricity based on strategic agreements with neighbouring countries such as Niger, Togo, Benin, among others.

However, over the years some of these international consumers have not been making adequate payments for the power exported to them from Nigeria.

Commenting on the remittance by special and cross-border customers in the first quarter of 2023, NERC said, “None of the under-listed international customers made any payment against the cumulative $16.11m invoice issued to them in 2023/Q1: Paras-SBEE ($3.46m), Transcorp-SBEE ($3.85m), Mainstream-NIGELEC ($5.48m) and Odukpani-CEET ($3.32m).”

For bilateral customers, the power sector regulator said, “Out of ₦842.38m invoice issued by MO to all the eight bilateral customers in the NESI (Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry), only North South/Star Pipe made a remittance of ₦15.38m against its invoice of ₦24.69m.”

The commission noted that “the non-remittance by bilateral consumers continues a trend that was highlighted in the past quarterly reports,” and declared that “the MO (Market Operator) must invoke the provision of the market rules to curtail the payment indiscipline being exhibited by the various market participants.”

International consumers including Paras-SBEE and Transcorp-SBEE are both from the Republic of Benin, while Mainstream-NIGELEC is from Niger; and Odukpani-CEET is from Togo.

In the second quarter, the data from the Federal Government’s power sector regulator indicated that the remittance by special and cross-border customers was still poor.

“In 2023/Q2, out of the four international customers serviced by the MO, only Transcorp-SBEE made a payment of $1.43m against an invoice of $2.13m issued for services rendered in 2023/Q2. The three other international customers did not make any payment against the $11.97m invoice issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q2,” it stated.

Also, for bilateral power consumers, the commission said, “Cumulatively, bilateral customers made a total payment of ₦816.66m against the cumulative invoice of ₦2.845bn issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q2.”

Further analysis showed that while only Transcorp-SBEE made payment in the second quarter of 2023, it could not sustain this in the third quarter, as all four international customers remitted nothing in Q3 2023 to the Nigerian government.

“In 2023/Q3, none of the four international customers being supplied by Gencos (power generation companies) in the NESI (Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry) made any payment against the cumulative invoice of $11.16m issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q3.

“Similarly, none of the 16 bilateral customers operating in the NESI made any payment against the cumulative invoice of ₦2.814bn issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q3,” NERC stated.

Also commenting on the remittance by special and cross-border customers in the last quarter of 2023, the commission said, “In 2023/Q4, none of the four international customers serviced by the MO made any payment against the $12.02m invoice issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q4.

“Cumulatively, no bilateral customer made any payment against the cumulative invoice of ₦1.952bn issued to them by the MO for services rendered in 2023/Q4.”

Reacting to the development, the National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, wondered why international customers would continue to owe Nigeria when the power supply remained inadequate across the country.

“A World Bank report puts the total number of Nigerians that are not connected to the national electricity grid at about 90 million, out of about 220 million Nigerians. This is about the highest in the world.

“China, with a population of 1.4 or 1.5 billion people, has about 68 million Chinese persons who are not connected to electricity. Now, compare that to the 90 million people in Nigeria that are not electrified.

“But despite that, you are now exporting such a scarce commodity that your people desperately need. What kind of economic sense is that? When you hear such things you wonder whether it is on planet Earth that it is happening. The people behind that idea, what are they thinking?” he stated.

 

 

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