Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL) said it can now generate 922 megawatts (MW) at Kainji, Jebba hydropower plants in Niger State but that 72 billion energy invoices remains unpaid in the Nigerian Electricity Market.
The Managing Director of MESL, Engr. Lamu Audu, who received the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh and BPE's Director of Power, Yunana Malo during the plants' tour, said the huge debt was an operational challenge.
He said, "There are accumulated unpaid invoices of N72bn receivables as at March 11, 2019 in the market; it does not include capacity charge and if there is to be an interest on these debts."
He said MESL is the concessionaire for the 1,338MW capacity plants but that only 582MW was available as at takeover in November 2013. He added that they were rehabilitated and are now the highest energy producers.
He further said the continuous ramp down on power generation requests from the Independent System Operator (ISO) due to energy load rejection affects the plants' turbines and is discouraging more investments.
"We are trying to encourage the board to do this expansion to target the international market through the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
"It is a serious issue that needs to be addressed if not, we cannot go anywhere," he noted urging BPE to find the solutions to them.
The MESL boss also urged BPE to convert the payment of concession fee by MESL from dollar to naira currency due to the difficulty in accessing foreign exchange (forex) at official exchange rates.
The BPE boss, Mr Alex Okoh commended the MESL management for what he described as excellent in terms of investments in recovering turbines, generators, energy delivery capacity and other advanced facilities at the plants.
He said: "We are quite impressed at what we see. We are not where we should be in terms of the privatisation agreements but we can see a credible efforts towards delivering on that path."
Okoh said BPE was working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to return the power sector to commercial viability soon.