Power generating companies have blamed low power generation for the inability of the utilities, known as the DisCos, to pay the N2trn debt they owed.
This was revealed by the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, at the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria annual conference held in Lagos on Thursday.
Speaking at the Power Sector Dilemma: Issues, Challenges, Opportunities And Strategic Key Solutions, she argued that the GenCos owed not N500bn as reported, but N2trn.
“GenCos do not owe N500bn, as accepted by NBET. We owe N2 trillion, while we owe suppliers N1trn,” she said.
She further explained that the GenCos had not been able to provide power due to the huge debts the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc had with them.
NBET is the administrator and manager of the Electricity Pool in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI. It collects rates on behalf of the market – DisCos, DisCos and the TCN.
Ogaji further explained that while the GenCos currently had sufficient power generation capacity, the market was unavailable because the DisCos had not been able to take all of the power generated.
“Nigerians don’t want power because there’s no demand for it. For example, Egbin, which has more than 1,000 capacity, has not been able to generate 800 MW because there is no demand,” she said.
She added that power generation depended on market demand.
“Our generation is driven by demand, and the demand isn’t there. Nigerians do not demand power and we have huge debts.”
Ogaji also criticized the capacity of the national grid to absorb all the power generated by the generating companies.
“We have the capacity to generate more for the country, but the national network has not been able to absorb everything we produce. Then we will be blamed for companies closing and moving to other countries. At this point, there is still evidence that Nigeria needs power, because if the country needs power, all hands will be there to demand more than what we are currently generating, and willing to pay for it. That’s when we can be held accountable for not increasing the generation,” she said.
This year’s NAEC conference was themed “Energy Transition: Shaping the Future of Nigeria’s Energy Industry, An Assessment of PIA, Evolving Benefits and Challenges.”