From James Ojo, Abuja
Verified debts owed electricity distribution companies by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have risen to N60 billion, as at the end of February 2017.
A communique issued at the end of the 13th monthly meeting of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing with operators of the power sector, however, stated that the amount was subject to further review.
The meeting, which held yesterday at Transcorp Power Limited, Ughelli, Delta State, added that 86 per cent of the debt (N51 billion) were owed by the top 100 customers, mainly composed of military and defence installations around the country.
The report of the verification team, according to the communique, noted that government was ready to pay all verified bills on a first come, first served basis as an example for the public and private sectors that are owing to follow.
“Government is determined to lead by example with regard to payment for electricity delivered. All verified bills will be recommended for payment on a first come, first served basis,” the communique stated.
The meeting, which focused on identifying, discussing and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) was attended by a Commissioner of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Managing Directors and CEOs of Generating Companies (Gencos), Distribution Companies (Discos), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).
Some of the steps taken by the Federal Government to improve electricity supply such as reconstitution of the NERC, the support of the National Assembly on enacting relevant industry laws, approval to pay Gencos for electricity generated and supplied on the grid were applauded.
Reports considered by the meeting included that of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and Yola Electricity Distribution Company and the completion of maintenance works in Awka and Maiduguri to improve service delivery.