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Nigeria may be forced to cut off power supply to the Republics of Niger and Benin over an outstanding N2.60 billion electricity debt.

Details of the unpaid electricity debt owed by the two countries are contained in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) second quarter 2020 report released in Abuja.

The report indicated that of the N4.10billion (US$13.39 million) invoice issued by the Market Operator(MO) to international customers which included Societe Nigerienne d’electricite – NIGELEC, Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique – SBEE and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo–CEET), only CEET paid the sum of N1.51bilion (US$4.92million) in respect of services it received from the Nigerian MO.

The Federal Government had in December 2019, threatened to disconnect Togo, Benin and Niger Republic from electricity supply over non-payment of their electricity bill to Nigeria.

Immediate past Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Mohammed, had explained that prior to his emergence as the Managing Director of TCN, Benin and Togo owed Nigeria more than $100 million.

The demand for international customers who receive electricity from Nigeria to pay their bills or be disconnected has been ongoing for years from Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) which supplies electricity to Togo and Benin. Both countries and Niger Republic receive 300 megawatts electricity supply each from Nigeria.

Meanwhile, NERC in the report disclosed that the total electric energy generated in the second quarter of 2020 was 8,734,927MWh –1.40 per cent more than the energy generated during the preceding quarter.

Within the same quarter, it stated that the industry recorded a peak daily generation of 5,316MW while the available plant generation units increased to 73 from the daily average of 66 units recorded in the preceding quarter.

This reduction was attributable to constraints relating to gas supply shortage, and transmission and distribution networks bottlenecks. The aforementioned industry constraints have continued to pose major technical and operational challenges to the industry.

The resolution of technical and operational constraints in NESI remains one of the top priorities of the Commission. The Commission has continued to work on resolving the DisCo-TCN interface bottlenecks to free up part of the stranded generation capacity by addressing the technical constraints inhibiting the flow of energy’’ the report stated.

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