Electricity consumers are owing N892billion due to their inability to pay a cost reflective tarrifs to the power distribution companies (DisCos).
Association of Electricity Distribution Companies (ANED) Chief Executive officer Azu Onya said the Federal Government’s debt to the power firms is inclusive.
He said the debts accumulated over the years, because consumers were not ready to pay the correct value of the energy, which the power firms supply them.
Officials of ANED visited The Nation headquarters in Lagos yesterday.
He gave other reasons for debts to include the removal of collection losses, the failure of consumers to withdraw from payment of tariffs following the implementation of Multi Year Tariffs Order (MYTO), among others.
Onya said: ‘’ The Federa Government is playing two roles. First, the government is playing the role of privatisation monitor and owner of 40 per cent of the assets in the power sector. In spite of this, the government has accumulated huge debts through the failure of the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to pay their tarrifs.
He described funding as a major problem inhibiting the growth of the sector.
He said the power generation companies (GenCos), gas suppliers, energy distributors, meter manufacturers among other criticial stakeholders, were finding it difficult to raise funds for their operations.
ANED Advocacy and Research Executive Director Sunday Oduntan said metering is one of the major problems in the industry. He admitted that all the power firms failed to meet the deadline for the distribution of meters to consumers.
According to him, shortage of meters is one of the major problems, but not the major problem in the sector, adding that enumeration is key to knowing the number of consumers that are not metered in the sector.
“Though the firms are starting the enumeration exercise late, the Ibadan, Benin, Jos, and other power electricity Distribution Companies are currently enumerating their customers; The Ikeja DisCo did the enumeration two years ago. As it is now, the Ibadan DisCo needs N30 billion for enumeration and other activities.
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBED) Head of Brands and Communication Mrs. Angela Olarenwaju said the company had started customers’ enumeration in Ibadan in the last six months, adding that “because IBED is the largest DisCo in the country with large customers to enumerate, we are doing the enumeration in phases the firm has a lot of consumers to enumerate, due to its large size in the country”.