‘Gencos, NBET committing fraud with capacity charges’

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Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

Power distribution companies on Wednesday said it was fraudulent for electricity generation companies to connive with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company to issue invoices that had higher capacity charges than energy charges to the Discos.

According to the Discos, this is one major reason why high electricity bills are transmitted to power consumers, especially those under the estimated billing system, stressing that it was not right for fixed charges from generation companies to be higher than the cost of the energy, which they were selling.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, the Executive Director, Association of National Electricity Distributors, an umbrella body for the Discos, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said the distribution companies were recently shocked when they discovered the high capacity charges billed on them by the Gencos, describing it as a “fraud.”

He said, “Why should capacity charge be higher than energy charge? I’m buying a product from you and the product is energy. But when you send me your invoice, the fixed charge is much higher than the energy charge you said I had received. This is why the invoice keeps going up.

“So, I think it is now time for the government to look at this issue. Between the Gencos and the NBET, we need to see transparency. They should open their books for us to see what is there. There is a need for more transparency between the Gencos and NBET, enough of any fraud in the system.”

He added, “We are not stupid. They should open their books and let everybody see it. You cannot continue to say we are owing you money and you cannot tell me how that money came about. My customers who get estimated bills are saying, ‘Disco tell me how I used this power for I’m not paying for darkness’.

“The same thing is what we are saying to the Gencos, I’m not paying capacity charges that are going to be more than the energy charge. Why should I pay for the cost of your investment when my customer do not pay for my own fixed charge? It is the same thing. And to now doctor invoice, that is unacceptable.”

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