Power firms get marching orders on N10b revenue
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory commission (NERC) has given the new owners of electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) up to 4.00 p.m. today to remit about N10 billion in revenue to the Market Operator (MO) to enable it pay the market’s service providers.
NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi, who briefed newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday on the status of the electricity market, noted that the distribution companies are under obligations to remit the monies to the MO for the efficient running of the market.
The Discos had last week cried out over cash crunch in the system due mainly to load shedding and customers’ reluctance to pay their bills.
Amadi explained that besides Eko, Ikeja and Kaduna Discos others were yet to remit their revenues to the MO.
According to him, “As at yesterday (Tuesday) only Eko, Ikeja and, to some extent Kaduna, have remitted what they are supposed to remit to the market operator.
“Today NERC wrote a letter informing the operators that by their licence they are under obligation to make all necessary remittances to the Market Operators accounts.
“And we have given a deadline of Thursday, 4.00 p.m. for distribution companies (Discos) to remit their statutory remittances to the Market Operator’s accounts and we have also indicated that every Discos that have removed the mandate of the Market Operator has to restore it back into the account for market settlement.
“We expect by Friday, the verified and attested bank statement of all the distribution companies to NERC for us to verify that such remittances have been made. The copies o the letters have been sent to the Discos.
“The Market Operator is the one that is daily receiving these remittances, so I would assume that market operation office will have up to date report, but as at Monday only about N2 billion have been paid and N10 billion outstanding.”
Amadi also explained that the distribution companies are expected to remit in full all October revenues collected in November to the MO.
“Another issue is the issue of payment of October revenue that is collected in November by the new owners; we had in the interim also provided that such payment should be made 100 per cent to the Market Operator’s accounts based on the understanding with the DG of LEMCO that such monies should be paid to the MO to use to deal with the gaps in the market.
“All distribution companies are therefore mandated to transfer such collections to the MO accounts immediately,” stressed.
On the continuing challenge of providing meters to electricity consumers, the NERC boss pointed out that at a meeting last week it was “emphasised to the new owners that they must meter their customers as soon as possible but for the unmetered they must treat their case according to the methodology on estimated.
“We have received several complaints from customers about outrageous billing and the new owners agreed to follow strictly the provisions of the methodology on estimated billing.
“Now that NERC is about to approve the regulations of the enforcement, any failure to comply with that methodology will be sanctioned.
“We expect that estimated billings until people are metered will be more sanitised and there will be less cases of outrage.”
Amadi allayed the fears of electricity consumers that a tariff increase was in the offing following the takeover of the private sector, explaining that there was no plant to carry a major review of the multi-year-tariff-order which came into effect last year.