Darkness looms as FG disconnects discos from national grid over debt

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Millions of electricity consumers may be plunged into darkness in the coming weeks as the Federal Government via the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Market Operator have begun a massive disconnection of debtor electricity distribution companies from the national grid.

The development, according to The Punch, followed notices of disconnection from the grid served on some of the Discos by the Market Operator.

The MO, a division of the Transmission Company of Nigeria had informed some Discos, including generating companies of the disconnection plan, due to failure to make remittances of ancillary services bills.

Since the notice by MO, it was observed that electricity supply had degenerated further across the country, with many areas complaining of either low or no supply.

The Executive Director, MO, Eddy Eje, in a recent statement advised erring Discos to make necessary payments. This followed an intervention by the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu.

Based on the 60 days extension of the grace period, the market defaulters were expected to comply with the provisions of the Market Rules with respect to payment of their outstanding invoices, posting of adequate bank guarantees, and forwarding of their active Power Purchase Agreements as the case may be, to the MO/TCN.

Findings revealed that the Discos and Gencos listed among defaulters by the Market Operators included; Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electric, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electric, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, APL Electric Company Aba, Ajaokuta Steel Company- a special electricity customer. The defaulting Gencos are Niger Delta Power Holding Company plants and Paras Energy.

Although the spokesperson for the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan declined comments on the development, a notice sent to customers by Ibadan Discos, confirmed findings..

IBEDC Managing Director/CEO, Kingsley Achife in a statement said there would be a mass disconnection from the national grid.

According to him, the decision was a result of poor remittances by customers.

Achife said that the action may result in power outages to customers within the IBEDC franchise areas, especially locations with the highest population of defaulters.

The areas to be affected by the mass disconnection are Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, and parts of Niger, Ekiti and Kogi states.

Achife, “As a revenue collection arm of the electricity value chain, IBEDC sells and distributes electricity generated by the generation companies. However, the company is unable to meet its financial obligations to the electricity value chain due to poor payment and huge outstanding bills by customers.

“We appeal to our esteemed customers to pay their current and outstanding bills to enable IBEDC to meet its obligations to the Market Operator and other parties in the electricity supply industry to ensure continuous and uninterrupted power supply.

“IBEDC prioritises the provision of reliable and excellent service to our esteemed customers but requires timely payment for the energy consumed.

“Payment for electricity is essential to ensure the sustainability of our operations, and it is a responsibility that we all share.

“We urge our customers to note that failure to pay current and outstanding electricity bills may result in disruption of power to homes, communities, and businesses connected to our network.

“We encourage all customers to pay their bills promptly to avoid any inconvenience,” Achife added.

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