Power sector debts hit N809bn

Power sector debts hit N809bn
Barr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing

 The indebtedness to Nigeria’s power sector as a whole is worth N809bn, industry operators have revealed.

According to the chief executive officers and senior management members of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company; Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, an umbrella body of the power distribution companies; Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission; gas producers; as well as power generation companies, the power sector may collapse soon if nothing serious is done to clear the debt.

The operators spoke at the October Power Dialogue organised by Nextier Power, an electricity advisory firm, in Abuja on Thursday.

This is coming as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NDPHC, Mr. ChieduUgbo, disclosed that the company was being owed over N105bn as of August 2016.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer, ANED, Mr. AzuObiaya, stated that the debt owed the power distribution companies by private consumers, businesses and government ministries, departments and agencies post-privatisation was over N568bn, adding that the sector as a whole was struggling with a revenue shortfall of over N809bn.

Operators at the dialogue noted that the debt might be over N1tn if the other arms of the sector like the power generation companies, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc and gas producers compute the figures they were being owed by the power market.

On the operations and indebtedness to the NDPHC, Ugbo stated that eight of the 10 power generating plants being managed by the company were supplying about 1,700 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, as against a total capacity of 4,774MW.

He attributed the meagre performance of the plants to gas or System Operator constraints, and noted that the total energy invoiced by the eight operational NDPHC plants since they started functioning amounted to about N235bn.

“But out of this amount as of August 2016, which is the month with the latest invoice, we are owed about N105bn. Now, this is not imaginary but is based on invoices as settled by the entity that has the statutory responsibility to do that, which is the Market Operator,” Ugbo said.

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