The 11 electricity Distribution Companies' (DisCos) debts for services provided by six electricity market participants amounted to N107 billion by December 31, 2016, Daily Trust reports.
A financial record of the market obtained by our reporter showed that part of the debt was an outstanding payment of N45.3bn for services rendered between February and December 2015 while the balance of N61.9bn debt was owed in 2016, the figures showed.
The debts breakdown indicated that the DisCos were handed out an invoice of N90.8bn from January to December 2016; they however paid only N28.9bn, leaving out the N61.9bn balance. Their average payment performance was put at 32 per cent in the one year period.
Further checks showed that the six Service Providers (SP) who benefitted from the payment are the Ancillary Services, payment to the Market Operator (MO), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the System Operator (SO), and the Transmission Service Provider (TSP). Both the MO, SO and the TSP are under the public firm, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The payment chart showed that while N1.34bn was paid for Ancillary Service, another N383 million was left unpaid in 2016. The DisCos owe the MO N1.9bn after they had paid N242m by December 2016.
For NBET, N173m was paid, leaving a balance of N923m; NERC was owed N10.3bn after the DisCos paid N2.49bn in 2016. SO and TSP were paid N2.61bn and N22.07bn in 2016. The outstanding debt brought forward to this year is N11.1bn and N82.5bn respectively.
An analysis by our reporter also showed that the best performing DisCos in terms of payment was Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) as it paid N5.06bn, equivalent to 70 per cent of its 2016 debt. However the worst performing DisCo was Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) which paid only N506m, adjudged to be 11 per cent of its 2016 debt.
The top debtor DisCos were Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) with N12.87bn outstanding debt; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) with N12.76bn, and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) with N12.03bn debt profile.
The lowest debtors were Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) owing N1.95bn; Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) which owed N4.26bn, and Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) with a debt of N6.47bn.
In a recent reaction to the payment pattern in 2016, the DisCos said there energy invoice from the GenCos rose due to the hike in foreign exchange, but without commensurate increase in the current electricity tariff.
In an interview over the market shortfall recently, spokesman for the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr. Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan, said, "I am still saying repeatedly that, if we buy a product for N68 and we are only allowed by the fixed tariff to sell at N31, who then bears the responsibility of the shortfall of about N37. That is what government should be talking about."
A core investor in the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Mr. Emmanuel Katepa in an interview confirmed that the invoice from the GenCos to his DisCo rose last year far more than what they got when dollar was pegged at N198 in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015.
He said: "In terms of payment for energy consumption, AEDC is not above but better than others. One of the things left out in the payment statistics is that, the monthly generation bill (invoice) to DisCos has been going up.
"We actually recorded a performance growth without a commensurate tariff adjustment and that was tough for us," Katepa explained.