Joy Ogaji, executive secretary of Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), says the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) is yet to pay the N500bn debt owed by electricity distribution companies (DisCos).
Speaking with reporters in Abuja on Sunday, Ogaji said power firms have been taking loans from banks to be able to generate electricity.
She said the federal government has only paid 80 percent of the Payment Assurance Guarantee fund, adding that power firms have not been paid since June.
“The GenCos debt is classified into about three categories, so when you are talking about debts, before even NBET came, market operators were owing GenCos,” Ogaji said.
“If you calculate all that debt from 2013 to December 2016, GenCos debt was about N500 billion. This debt that we are talking about is without interest.
“Because the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) says if they delay to pay, GenCos are entitled to interest, so this amount is without interest, it does not also cover the cost for available capacity.
“From 2017, NBET, through Federal Government’s Payment Assurance Guarantee has only been paying 80 percent and there is 20 percent shortfall till date.
“And for this year, since June we have not been paid. GenCos have been taking loans from the banks to be able to meet their obligations in the market and put power on the grid.”
She said the inability of NBET to pay for the invoices of energy generated has implications for the power firms.
“When we don’t generate, we are called saboteurs. They will start saying that the owners of the GenCos are PDP members, that is why they are not generating,” she said.
“But the government is not looking at the cost implication of putting power on the grid and you are not paying for it.
“There is no business person that will want to continue business when you are not getting anything on it.”
Meanwhile, Henrietta Ighomrore, NBET’s head of corporate communication, said the claims that power generation firms have not been paid since June is inaccurate.
“NBET do not retain any money, every money we receive from the DisCos, we immediately pay it to the GenCos to settle their invoices,” she said.