Imminent Nationwide Blackout as Gencos Threaten Shutdown Over N600bn Fund
Blackout is looming across the country as the electricity generation companies (Gencos) yesterday threatened to shut down power supply should the federal government refuse to disburse the N600billion intervention fund.
This is coming as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) have disclosed that Nigeria and Guinea – Conakry, currently have the cheapest or lowest retail electricity tariffs amongst countries in the West African region.
The Gencos, speaking through the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, told journalists in Abuja that they had been indebted to the extent that their gas suppliers no longer supply them.
This, according to her, has compelled about three Gencos to shut down their operations.
She noted that if the N600 billion is not released in record time, a deliberate decision or economic forces would force the remaining Gencos to stop power generation.
Ogaji disclosed that the Gencos have been receiving only 15 per cent of their invoices since June whereas nothing less than 20 to 30 per cent of their invoices can sustain their operations.
The spokesperson also alleged that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc has been threatening the Gencos that they will not receive the intervention fund without consenting to the payment of 0.75 per cent administrative charge.
She added that the NBET Managing Director, Dr. Marilyn Amobi, had called on the owners of the Gencos to forward their board resolution to access the N600billion.
Ogaji, however, noted that the call was misleading since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was yet to release the fund.
The spokesperson, stressed that CBN paid the previous interventions directly to power firms and gas suppliers.
Her words: “We have heard the news, which was part of what we told you in September, that the federal government is working on releasing N600 billion for us. From that time till this moment, it is still news that the federal government is still working on it.
“Now the reason we called for this press conference is because NBET has been threatening calling the GenCos, especially the owners (investors), telling them that she has the money with her if only they will send the board resolution she would pay the money.
“But the truth is that, I have done my own findings, CBN has not released the money. And if you know how the N701billion was dealt with, no money was released NBET. CBN paid the money directly to all the Gencos and gas suppliers, calling the GenCos owners and lying to them that she has the money is a misleading fact.
“So, if NBET excesses are not checked and this N600billion is not released on time, whether we deliberately shut down or not, the machines will shut down by themselves. This is because gas suppliers have stopped giving gas to some of the Gencos,” she explained.
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