ELECTRICITY Distribution companies in Nigeria collected a total of N1.27 trillion from customers over the past three years, according to data obtained from the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, (ANED).
ANED, the umbrella body for the Distribution companies, revealed that customers had paid N363 billion in 2017, N437.9 billion in 2018, and N473 billion in 2019.
While the energy billed consumers by the Discos was pegged at 18,882 gigawatt-hours which is estimated at N597.3 billion in 2017, it was 20,852 GWh which is about N661.6 billion in 2018 and 21,702GWh valued at N695 billion in 2019.
Energy received by the power distributors climbed to 26,630GWh in 2019 from 26,385GWh in 2018 and 24,616GWh in 2017, based on the data released.
“The Discos only collect an estimated 24 per cent of the tariff revenue, while the balance goes to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) generation companies and other industry stakeholders,” ANED revealed in its report.
However, the revenue collection of the Discos rose to a record N127 billion in the first three months of this year
ANED stated that energy billed by the Discos in the first quarter of 2020 was 5,768GWh (equivalent to N187bn), out of the 6,911GWh they received.
“The collection in the first quarter of 2020 hit a new record of N127 billion, 10 per cent more than the same quarter last year,” it added.
The power firms said the energy sent out in the first quarter of this year was much less than what was projected at the last minor review for 2020.
According to them, the Nigerian electricity supply industry has not solved critical issues such as the lack of spinning reserve, load misalignment with Discos and the TCN interface issues, delays in the implementation of TCN´s expansion plan, and lack of investment in Discos’ infrastructure.
According to the group, the number of registered end-users in the industry keeps increasing at a rate of about 75,000 new customers per month, resulting in more than 9.5 million customers.
“Delays and barriers in the implementation of the Meter Asset Providers regulation are making the metering gap to grow, with almost 59.7 per cent of the end-users unmetered.
“Since 2015, there has been no significant improvement in the energy generated and wheeled by the TCN that is finally received by the Discos. It continues to be flat and is only mainly affected by a seasonal effect between the dry and rainy seasons,” the report stated.
The distribution and generation companies created out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) were handed over to private investors on November 1, 2013, following the privatisation of the power sector.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.