Blackout looms as FG disconnects discos from national grid over debt

The Federal Government, through the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Market Operator, has started a huge disconnect of debtor electricity distribution businesses from the national grid.

As a result, millions of electricity consumers may be left in the dark in the upcoming weeks.

According to Punch, the development happened after the Market Operator had given some of the Discos notices that they would be disconnected from the grid.

Due to inability to pay ancillary service costs, The MO, a division of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, had alerted various Discos, including producing businesses, of the disconnection plan.

It was observed that nationwide energy supplies had deteriorated considerably after MO had made his observation, with several places complaining of either poor or no supply.

In a recent statement, MO’s Executive Director, Eddy Eje, urged disobedient Discos to make the necessary payments. Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister of Power, has already intervened.

The market defaulters were expected to abide by the Market Rules with regard to payment of their outstanding invoices, posting of sufficient bank guarantees, and forwarding of their active Power Purchase Agreements, as applicable, to the MO/TCN, based on the extension of the grace period by 60 days.

Findings by The PUNCH 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.

IBEDC Managing Director/CEO, Kingsley Achife in a statement obtained by The PUNCH stated that 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.

It was gathered that 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 prioritizes 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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