Blackout looms as GenCos threaten to shut down supply

By Etuka Sunday

The Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) yesterday disclosed that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) is owing its members over N1trillion.
GenCos’ spokesperson, Dr. Joy Ogaji who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja also accused NBET of being behind the present power situation in the country.
The Power Generation Companies (GenCos) have therefore threatened to shut down power generation supply if pressing issues in the sector are not addressed.
Ms Ogaji explained that the main reason for considering such action was due to the inability of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to honour agreement it had with GenCos.
She said GenCos were facing liquidity challenge due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100 per cent payment for power generated and supplied.
Dr. Joy recalled that on 20th September, 2019, the GenCos through the APGC convened a press conference to discuss on the 0.75% charge which the NBET demanded from the GenCos as administrative charge for payment of gas invoices on their behalf.
She said, it was expected that the issue has been nipped in the bud having written to all relevant stakeholders including the sector regulator, NERC and having received responses from its major shareholder and vice Chairman of its board, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) as well as the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN) all unanimously rejecting NBET’s stance, it is clear from recent occurrences that NBET is not deterred.
She said, NBET has now reduced its role to.blackmailing/threatening GenCo investors/Chairmen who have refused to concede to NBET’s illegal demand of a 0.75% charge on invoices paid to gas suppliers.
She noted that “NBET has clearly threatened not to release payments due GenCos until they accede to NBET’s request, urging them to agree for a quid pro quo with the 0.75% administrative charge.
“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely shed its role as a licensee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role. The entity is almost conducting itself in a manner that suggests that it is above the law.
“This singular action by NBET, may lead to shutdown of power supply by GenCos, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET,” she said.
The GenCos mouthpiece said, “a lot of Nigerians are aware of the liquidity challenge GenCos are faced with due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100% payment for power generated and supplied.
“What Nigerians need to know and be aware in addition, is that these victimisation notwithstanding, NBET’s management has now constituted itself as the Alpha and Omega authority (quasi regulator) that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in Nigeria. The situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GenCos have to plead, lobby, beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.
“A review of the key sector players experiences, from Ministry of Power to NERC, Transmission and other stakeholders all attest to the venomous encounters they have had with NBET. These testimonies, to all intents and purposes, is not commendable coming from a public institution like NBET, established to make GenCos whole.
“This attitude has affected several key investors and continues to erode new investors’ confidence. We do not believe that the Federal Government will intend for sought after investors, in a critical sector as the Power, to be meted with such stern, unethical and unprofessional treatment.
“The APGC is pained by the inhumane treatment meted out to GenCos and stresses that law abiding corporate citizens should not be victims of bullying and malady.
“GenCos indebtedness to their gas suppliers is due to NBET’s indebtedness to them. No Genco has any outstanding gas payment that is more than what NBET is owing the Genco. Put differently, NBET is indirectly charging 0.75% for paying its debt to GenCos!!! .
“Has it ever been heard or seen, where a debtor is dictating terms of payment and even wanting to benefit from proceeds of debts it is obligated to pay? To this, the GenCos say, we are ready for business, and will walk the proverbial “whole nine yards” to get what is our due,”.

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