Benin Republic, Niger and Togo Owe Nigeria N22.55bn Electricity Debt

Three of Nigeria’s West African neighbours – the Republic of Benin, Niger, and Togo owe the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc and the power market operator the sum total of N22.55 billion in electricity bills.

This is according to quarterly reports and sales records data provided by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, as reported by Punch.

It should be restated that Nigeria exports electricity to Benin Republic, Niger, and Togo through Paras-SBEE, Transcorp-SBEE, and Mainstream-NIGERLEC, respectively.

According to the data, the firms were billed N50.01 billion in 2018, but only N9.62 billion was collected.

While an invoice of N30.03 billion was sent to the firms in 2019, only N56.94 billion was collected.

In 2020, N16.22 billion invoice was issued, but the collection was no more than 12.06 billion.

For 2021, the firms were issued an invoice amounting to N7.67 billion, but only N2.9 billion was eventually received by Nigeria.

2022 seemed like an improvement as N4.62 billion was collected from an issued bill of about N4.66 billion.

The power distribution companies, commonly known as DisCos, have been struggling with massive debt accumulation for years.

They’ve tried everything, from the disconnection of defaulters to the introduction of pre-paid meters.

But the debt keeps growing, and it has now reached a dangerous level that threatens the stability of the power sector.

This huge amount of unpaid bills is detrimental to the smooth functioning of the power sector and has led to widespread blackouts, leaving many households without electricity for days.

The DisCos have raised concerns over the dire situation, and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has warned the defaulters to pay up or face disconnection.

In Nigeria, the DisCos’ revenue shortfall has increased by over N1tn in the last four years, causing a significant setback in the power sector.

The data shows that out of N4.30 trillion that customers were billed, the companies were only able to collect N2.92 trillion from 2019 to 2022.

A further breakdown showed that in 2018, the Discos billed Nigerians N690.2 billion and were only able to collect N442.3 billion.

N730.88 billion was billed to Nigerian consumers in 2019, while only 483.65 was recouped.

It was the same story in 2020 where N816.16 billion in 2020, while N542.73 billion was collected.

For 2021 and 2022, Nigerian consumers were billed N1.1 trillion and N840.18 billion with respective reimbursement of N771.3 billion and N596.63 billion.

The distribution companies have to incur significant losses due to the failure of the consumers to pay their electricity bills.

This has led to a vicious cycle where the DisCos struggle to pay their debts, which leads to a reduction in power supply, which in turn affects the consumers.

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Patrick Odey

Patrick Odey, a native of Benin, Edo State. He studied the English Language at the University of Benin, Edo State. He is a Blogger Contact: [email protected]

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