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Power investors must pay N10bn debts today —NERC


News » Politics
Nigeria

IMAGE: NERC logo »

Dec.05.2013

 

One month after private firms took over Nigeria’s power sector, the companies are already defaulting in terms of making remittance to the Federal Government.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, which gave this indication on Wednesday, threatened to sanction the errant firms if they failed to pay up their debts before 4pm on Thursday (today).

The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, said the remittances were monies meant for services rendered to the companies by the government and directed the power firms to make the payment to the electricity Market Operator.

Amadi spoke at a news briefing at the commission’s office in Abuja.

He said, “The MO is the one that receives these remittances and will have up-to-date information on the amount so far remitted. But as of Monday, the report from the MO is that only about N2bn has been paid and N10bn is outstanding.

On the challenges hampering the firms from complying, the NERC boss said, “There are no valid excuses for not making remittances and we have written a letter to them giving a deadline of 4pm on Thursday (today). This is for all the required remittances to be made to the MO’s account.”

Last week, some of the operators lamented the “overwhelming problems” which they encountered since they took over the privatised power firms on November 1, 2013.

They had stated that the challenges were drastically affecting their earnings.

But Amadi maintained that the Federal Government would not give a preference to the profitability of the new power investors at the detriment of the electricity market and consumers.

He said, “On their profitability, what we are doing is to help them to become commercially viable and fulfil their obligations in terms of the services they get. But we are not going to be over-concerned with their profitability at the detriment of the market or the consumer. We have to balance everything.

“We have to guarantee them by regulation that the environment allows them to be financially viable and recover their cost. They have to also guarantee the market that they are able to meet their licence conditions of good, efficient and prudent operations.”

He said NERC was about to approve the regulation enforcement and stressed that any firm that failed to comply with it would be severely punished.

Amadi said it was expected that the billing of consumers, who were metered, would be more sanitised.

He added, “Some people have complained about outages, interruption and decline in power supply. We are discussing with the Transmission Company of Nigeria, but we need to understand the cause. As of yesterday, about 2,800 or 2,900 megawatts were the unutilised capacity and this was due to gas constraint.

“This is a time also for the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the PIB in the petroleum industry because that will go a long way to enhance commerciality of the gas supply.”

He, however, promised that the commission would meet with gas suppliers to seek measures to address the challenge.

On calls for a review of electricity tariff, Amadi said the commission would not honour such as it was done routinely.

He said, “NERC harmonises the issue of those who are poor. The media should communicate the old principle of pay according to your power. We cannot continue to run these core services that require huge financial investments as if they are such services that all classes of people should be subsidised.

“There is no reason why somebody like me cannot pay N15 per kilowatt hour and somebody like you cannot pay maybe N12 when you can spend N100 or N1,000 a day to buy a bottle of malt or snacks.

“We are not living in an imaginary world; we are in a country that does not have infrastructure and we have to be disciplined to create a financial structure. So, for me, I have no apology that NERC is working very hard to make sure that we create a market that allows for sustainability of power supply to Nigerians.”

Article Credit: PUNCH Newspaper

Updated 5 Years ago
 

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