Figures obtained from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Monday showed that power consumers in Nigeria got a total bill of N1.12tn in 2021 but paid N775.33bn, leaving a shortfall of N341.42bn.
Payments were made to the 11 power distribution companies in Nigeria despite the blackouts witnessed in many parts of the country by consumers.
The NERC revealed this in four of its quarterly reports, as it only completed the reports for the review year by publishing the 4th quarter 2021 report recently.
An analysis of the various reports by our correspondent indicated that power users paid N186.34bn for electricity in the first quarter of 2021, while they were billed N271.85bn by the Discos.
Commenting on the commercial performance of the distribution companies in Q1 2021, the NERC said, “The financial viability and commercial performance of the industry recorded a marginal improvement in 2021/Q1.
“The total billings by all Discos to registered customers during the quarter under review were N271.85bn, an increase of 4.6 per cent from the N259.90bn recorded in the preceding quarter. However, only N186.34bn (or 68.55 per cent) was collected.”
In the second quarter, the commission stated that “the total billing to and collection from electricity consumers by all the Discos stood at N268.97bn and N185.29bn respectively during the quarter under review, implying a collection efficiency of 68.89 per cent.”
For Q3 2021, the power sector regulator stated that the total revenue collected by all Discos was N193.53bn, out of the N273bn billed to customers.
“This represents a collection efficiency of 70.89 per cent as compared to 68.89 per cent recorded in 2021/Q2,” the commission stated.
In the fourth quarter of the review year, the NERC stated that power consumers paid a total of N210.17bn to distribution companies.
It further said that the N210.17bn represented 9.34 per cent of the total electricity bill given to consumers during the period.
“The total revenue collected by all Discos in 2021/Q4 was N210.17bn out of N303.11bn billed to customers – corresponding to a collection efficiency of 69.34 per cent (70.89 per cent in 2021/Q3),” the regulator stated.
Power consumers in Nigeria have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the delivery of electricity by operators in the sector, particularly after the electricity generation and distribution arms of the industry were privatised in November 2013.
Despite being handed over to private investors about nine years ago, power generation by Gencos and distribution by Discos had continued to hover around 3,500 megawatts and 4,500MW.
On Monday, for instance, power generation on the national grid was 3,794.6MW at 6am. It dropped from a peak generation of 3,867MW that was recorded the preceding day.
The Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies, Joy Ogaji, recently faulted the way electricity was being traded in the sector.
“The key thing is that there is no trading taking place in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). What we have is something I don’t know the name yet – something close to Father Christmas,” Ogaji stated.
She further stated that the sector had made Gencos worry over how they would be paid after making power available.