Togo, Niger and Benin Republic owe Nigeria a total of N29.97 billion for the electricity supplied to them from January to September 2019, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had said.
Through its electricity transmission company, Nigeria supplies power to these countries, which are classified as international customers in the Nigerian power sector.
Niger’s power firm, Societe Nigerienne electricity, failed to pay a total invoice of N3.01 billion it received in the first quarter of 2019; N3.69 billion in the second quater and N4.1 billion in the third quarter.
Communaute Electrique du Benin, a power firm owned by Togo and Benin, did not pay N9.74 billion for the power supplied to it in the first quarter; N7.16 billion in the second quarter; and N2.27 billion in the third quarter.
NERC said in its latest quarterly report released on Friday that the international customers made no payment for the total outstanding debt in the third quarter of 2019.
The NERC quarterly report analyses the state of the Nigerian electricity industry (covering both the operational and commercial performance), regulatory functions, consumer affairs as well as the commission’s finances and staff development.
“The Nigerian government has continued to engage the governments of neighbouring countries benefitting from the export supply to ensure timely payments for the electricity purchased from Nigeria,” it said.
Though with a slight improvement in the third quarter of 2019, the regulator said financial viability and commercial performance of the industry continued to be a major challenge.
According to the report, a total invoice of ₦179.6 billion was issued to the 11 DisCos for energy received from NBET and for service charge by the Market Operator (MO), but only a sum of ₦58.81 billion of the total invoice was settled, representing 32.73 per cent remittance performance.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the Discos, which then supply it to the consumers, while the MO is an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“Although the Discos fully met the minimum remittance for MO, the average aggregate remittance performance to NBET was 32.73 per cent, with performance level ranging from 19.43 per cent (Jos) to 50.03 per cent (Eko).
“This is slightly lower than the minimum remittance threshold prescribed in the orders on minimum remittance issued to all Discos in July 2019 with Enugu and Ikeja failing to meet their remittance obligation during the period,” it read.
The regulator said that following the commencement of enforcement of the minimum remittance order, all Discos had since fully complied with their respective minimum remittance thresholds.
“Notwithstanding the slight progress recorded in the third quarter of 2019, the financial viability of the Nigerian electricity supply industry is still a major challenge threatening its sustainability,” it added.