Power crisis looms as NBET, GenCos disagree on service charge

The Power sector may soon be plunged into crisis, it was learnt on Sunday. The Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos) at weekend threatened to declare force majeure (superior force) should the Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET) stick to its guns that thermal GenCos must pay 0.75 per cent administrative charge on transactions.

With the administrative charge on every transaction, NBET will be raking in N2.7 billion from the disbursement of the N600 billion power sector intervention fund. Addressing reporters in Abuja under the aegis of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), its Executive Director, Mrs. Joy Ogaji, quoted the NBET as saying it was acting on the Presidency’s directive.

She said: “The time may just be right for GenCos to declare force majeure and release themselves from all market obligations. Surely, GenCos will remain blameless for taking such actions.” According to her, NBET has made the charge as a condition for the disbursement of the N600 billion interventions for gas suppliers and GenCos.

Mrs Ogaji insisted that “0.75 per cent administrative charge is compulsory as it is a Condition Precedent (CP) for GenCos to access the N600 billion the Federal Government has approved for immediate payment to gas suppliers and GenCos”. Responding to the APGC allegations, NBET’s Managing Director Marilyn Amobi told The Nation via a text message: “Please, I don’t know what Mrs Ogaji is talking about. NBET deals with generation companies and has never dealt with Joy Ogaji and her association.

“Please, as I told you in the past, kindly, if you can, send us a letter with your concerns, perhaps providing the document Joy Ogaji sent to you in which she bites the so-called allegations, raise your questions or seek a meeting to discuss the issues and we will oblige you.

“Credible journalism is not done vide text messages. I do hope you would be committed to confirming the veracity of the things you hear before proceeding to publish them.”

The APGC spokesperson, who described the NBET directive as a usurpation of the role of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), added that the enforcement of the unilateral decision of the latter was impossible for a market licensee.

She said: “As if that was not enough, NBET is at it again, this time mandatorily issuing arbitrary and unilateral decision, which should not be possible for a market licensee.

“NBET, on September 13, 2019, issued a letter to individual thermal GenCos directing them to obtain, as a matter of urgency, their respective board approvals or resolutions, bequeathing responsibility for payment of gas and transportation to the respective supply companies for an administrative charge of 0.75 per cent.

“The letter gave each GenCo three working days ultimatum to respond with the board resolution; that is, September 18, 2019, or face non-payment of energy invoices.

“It should be noted that NBET, like other market participants, is a licensee of NERC and as such is expected to understand that in a regulated market, every expense/cost must be backed by a regulatory approval for effective computation of the market tariffs.

“The generation companies are not aware that such approvals have been issued by NERC nor is there any policy directive to this effect.”  Nation

Pix: Nigeria electricity