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Blackout looms over N600bn power generation debt

A nationwide blackout looms over the threat of Power Generation Companies (GenCos) to shut down operations over a N600 billion debt. Addressing a news conference in Abuja yesterday, Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, said the decision to shut down operations was due to the inability of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to honour agreement it had with GenCos.

Ogaji said the N600 billion debt was for accumulation of power generation over a period of time that ought to have been liquidated by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) but was yet unpaid, adding that further delay would leave the Gencos with no option than to shut down operations.

She said GenCos were facing liquidity challenge due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100 per cent payment for power generated and supplied.

NBET is the bulk electricity trader licensed and regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to undertake bulk purchase and resale of electricity in the transitional electricity market.

She accused NBET’s management of constituting itself as “the Alpha and Omega” authority that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in the country.

According to her, the situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GenCos have to plead, lobby, and beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.
“NBET has now reduced its role to blackmailing and threatening GenCos’ investors and chairmen who have refused to concede to NBET’s illegal demand of a 0.75 per cent charge on invoices paid to gas suppliers.

“NBET has clearly threatened not to release payments due GenCos until they accede to NBET’s request, urging them to agree for a quid pro quo with the 0.75 per cent administrative charge.

“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely abdicate its role as a licencee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role.

“This singular action by NBET may lead to shutdown of power supply by GenCos, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET.

“GenCos have, in addition to the mounting debts being owed, working under the harsh, unprofessional and unethical dealings from the NBET management staff.

“GenCos’ Chief Executives and other key staff all have a bucket full of tales of abuses, insults, aggression, nonchalance, non-responsiveness, bullish, belittling, and ostracising actions
“All these are geared towards intimidating the GenCos and keeping them at bay from seeking legitimate clarifications,” she said.

Source: Sunnewsonline

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