AUDIT report of debts owed by Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to power Distribution Companies (DisCos) has revealed that out of the current indebtedness amounting to N59.3 billion,the 86 percent (N51 billion) were owed by the top 100 customers, mainly composed of military and defence installations.

This formed the high point of considerations made at the 13th meeting of power sector stakeholders with the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola hosted by the Transcorp Power Limited, Ughelli, Delta State.

According to a communique at the end of the meeting, the stakeholders received a report on the ongoing audit of debts owed to distribution companies by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

The verification team had received claims currently estimated at N59.3 billion, just as the report noted that 86 percent of debt (N51billion) were owed by the top 100 customers, mainly composed of military and defence installations around the country.

The report stated that all verified bills would be recommended for payment on a first come first serve basis as demonstration of Government’s determination to lead by example with regards to payment for electricity delivered.

Further, although the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) reported on improved compliance with submission of audited accounts by DISCOS, but the stakeholders said that NERC should more rigorously perform regulatory duties.

The meeting tasked NERC to standardize reporting on financial performance, safety and customer service as a fair basis for ranking distribution companies and other industry operators.

It noted Fedaral Government’s decision to support Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) with N701 billion over two years for NBET to pay generation companies for electricity produced under the power purchase agreements.

However, it emphasized that the initiative does not discharge the obligation of the DisCos to pay their invoices to the Market Operator for services provided by Transmission Service Provider (TSP), (Independent System Operator), ISO and to NBET for the electricity generated, transmitted and delivered to customers.

The power sector operators represented include a Commissioner of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Managing Directors and CEOs of Generating Companies (GenCos), Distribution Companies (DisCos), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) responsible for the regulation and development of the electricity industry.