To curb the increasing revenue shortfall in Nigeria’s power sector, operators in the distribution arm of the industry, with the support of other participants in the market, have commenced a nationwide consumer enumeration According to them, the financial shortfall in the sector has exceeded N1tn, as power generation companies are owed over N500bn; distribution firms about N200bn; while the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is indebted to the tune of over N100bn, reports Energy News
Other service providers in the sector such as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Transmission Company of Nigeria and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company are also being owed billions of naira. Power distribution companies, on many occasions, had complained that the average of N31.5 that was approved by NERC as the unit price for a kilowatt-hour of energy was not sustainable as the amount required from the Discos by generation companies for the same quantum of energy was N68/KWh.
The Discos also stated that aside from the fact that the amount approved by the regulator for the sale of the product was low, many power consumers were not paying for electricity, because most of them were not on the records of the electricity distributors. This, according to operators in the sector, is one major reason for the ever-widening revenue shortfall in the industry, a development that triggered the move for proper enumeration of electricity customers nationwide.
The Executive Director, Association of National Electricity Distributors, an umbrella body for the Discos, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said that the official number of eight million consumers on the books of power distributors was too low. He said several millions of consumers used electricity without paying and that this was adversely impacting on the revenues of Discos, adding that power firms had resolved to effect a complete enumeration of the consumers to address the problem.
Oduntan said, “People often ask me, what is the metering gap in Nigeria and how many customers do we have? Officially on our books, we have less than eight million customers; and please, note my words, I said officially. “But in reality, when you go out there to count, you will be shocked that you will see quite a lot of people who are supposed to be classified as our customers but are not. So enumeration is being embarked upon by various Discos and more are gearing up to make it a nationwide exercise.”
He added, “As l speak, Benin, Eko, Ikeja and Kano Discos are doing enumeration, while Jos Disco has started and others will follow soon. The customer enumeration is a good avenue to be able to capture new power consumers and know the real number of the various locations, although it is capital intensive. ”The spokesperson for the Discos stated that the enumeration would also assist the power firms in realizing better revenue needed for the payment of energy being supplied to them by generation companies.
Source: Energy News