NBET’s N144bn debt to GenCos threatens electricity supply

December 26, 2020
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The Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) is reportedly owing Generation Companies (GenCos) a total of N143.82 billion in the third quarter of 2020, for the electricity produced and fed into the national grid.

Of the total invoice of N193.26 billion NBET received from GenCos in the three-month period, it only paid N49.44 billion, representing 25.58% of the invoice.

The N193.26 billion invoice comprises of a total invoice of N64.13 billion in July, N67.83 billion in August and N61.30 billion in September.

The N49.44 billion payment made to the GenCos by the bulk trader in July was N12.22 billion, representing 19.05%; N13.49 billion in August, representing 19.90%; and N23.73 billion in September, representing 38.72%.

Further checks indicate that remittances by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) partly contributed to NBET’s debt.

In this context, DisCos remitted only N50.68 billion to NBET in the third quarter of 2020, out of a total invoice of N189.05 billion received from NBET.

The DisCos received a total invoice of N66.33 billion in July; N63.62 billion in August; and N59.10 billion in September.

But the DisCos only paid NBET N12.91 billion in July; N14.89 billion in August, and N22.88 billion in September.

It is clear from the above that NBET partly relies on payments by DisCos to settle GenCos. Thus, all things being equal, NBET may continue to owe GenCos in the future, considering that DisCos are not really efficient in collecting electricity tariffs due from customers.

In this regard, Nairametrics reported on 8th December that DisCos recorded a loss of N58billion in unpaid electricity dues in Q2 2020 – indicating a collection efficiency of only 64.4%.

Recall that in January NBET owed GenCos in the country about N1 trillion. This appears to further uphold claims that the current arrangement between GenCos, NBET and DisCos is not really sustainable; and may require revision.

Data obtained from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator revealed that the total power generation stood at 4,631.60 megawatts as of 6am on Thursday.

The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total generation.

The amount of available generation capability left unused on Thursday stood at 1,591.1MW as a result of gas constraints, according to the system operator.

The system operator put the nation’s installed generation capacity at 12,954.40MW, available capacity at 7,652.60MW, transmission wheeling capacity at 7,300MW and the peak generation ever attained at 5520.4MW.

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