Power Distribution Companies Begin Mass Disconnection over N93bn Debt
Power distribution companies commonly referred to as DISCOs, over the weekend began the mass disconnection of homes, corporate offices and government agencies indebted to the companies to the tune of N93 billion in the least.
Two weeks ago, the DISCOs jointly placed adverts in national newspapers warning all “historic debtors,” a reference to the residential, commercial and government establishments owing the electricity firms, to pay up their bills or risk being cut off.
According to Vanguard, the executive director of the Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr Sunday Oduntan, while speaking with the newspaper on Sunday, said that his member-companies had to carry out its threat when it became obvious that there was nothing on the table.
Government establishments (including security agencies) alone are indebted to the DISCOs to the tune of N93bn. The figure is said to include a N39.1 billion debt incurred pre-privatisation of electricity assets and N39.5 billion post-privatisation.
Also thrown into the debt calculation was the outstanding interest of N15 billion, which the bulk trader charges DISCOs for late payment of their electricity bills, a situation that occurred as a result of non-settlement of electricity bills as at when due.
Oduntan stated that the electricity firms were worried that the debts may not be paid without a budgetary intervention but that no such allocation was made in the 2016 budget.
“Although we appreciate the efforts of the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the stark reality is that there is nothing concrete to hold on to. Nothing for us in the budget. No allowance for MDAs debt to DISCOs in the budget, even though we started discussion before the budget was passed,” he lamented.
The ANED boss however stated that the current mass disconnection protest embarked upon by DISCOs was not an exercise targeted at government agencies but “all historic debtors.”
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