Nigeria exports N23bn electricity, local consumers lament outage

Power consumers, on Wednesday, kicked against the export of about N23.13bn worth of electricity from Nigeria to some neighbouring countries in 2022 despite the widespread darkness witnessed in many Nigerian communities.

The latest data on the remittances by international customers, obtained from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja, showed that Nigeria continued its export of electricity to the Republics of Benin and Niger, as well as some special categories of consumers.

It was observed that the total value of exported electricity from Nigeria in 2022 was $50.98m (N23.5bn, at the official exchange rate of N461/$ as of last year). But the international customers remitted $32.69m, an equivalent of N15.1bn.

This implies that they failed to remit a total of $18.29m or N8.4bn during the period, while the special customers also did not remit N792.6m in the same period, according to figures obtained from the power sector regulator.

Although some officials at NERC and other agencies in the power sector provided explanations as to why Nigeria was exporting power despite its poor supply in-country, electricity consumers kicked against the move.

“A World Bank report puts the total number of Nigerians that are not connected to the national electricity grid at about 90 million, out of about 220 million Nigerians. This is about the highest in the world.

“China, with a population of 1.4 or 1.5 billion people, has about 68 million Chinese persons who are not connected to electricity. Now, compare that to the 90 million people in Nigeria that are not electrified.

“But despite that, you are now exporting such a scarce commodity that your people desperately need. What kind of economic sense is that? When you hear such things you wonder whether it is on planet Earth that it is happening. The people behind that idea, what are they thinking?” the National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, told our correspondent.

The power exports

Providing updates on the remittances made by special/cross-border customers in the fourth quarter of 2022, the NERC said, “Transcorp-SBEE and Mainstream-NIGELEC received invoices of $3.44m and $5.5m respectively from MO (Market Operator) and made remittances of  $0.93m (27.04 per cent) and $5.44m (98.9 per cent) respectively.”

SBEE is Société Beninoise d’Énergie Electrique, a Benin Republic power firm, while NIGELEC, which is Société Nigérienne d’Electricité or Nigerien Electricity Society, is a power utility firm in Niger Republic.

Going by the data from NERC, it implies that the total remittance from Transcorp-SBEE and Mainstream-NIGELEC in the Q4 2022 was $6.37m, while they failed to remit $2.57m in the same quarter.

“However, no remittance was made to the MO by Paras-SBEE and Odukpani-CEET against invoices of $3.03m and $2.02m respectively. The non-settlement of market obligations by this category of market participants should be a call to action for MO to activate relevant safeguards for remittance shortfalls,” the NERC stated.

This implies that the two international customers in this category failed to remit a total of $5.05m in Q4 2022.

In Q3 2022, the commission stated that Transcorp-SBEE, Mainstream-NIGELEC and Odukpani-CEET received invoices of $1.85m, $5.67m and $1.71m respectively from the MO, and made remittances of $1.2m (64.96 per cent), $5.55m (97.87 per cent) and $1.67m (97.59 per cent) respectively.

This means that the three international customers remitted a total of $8.42m, leaving an outstanding of $0.81m during the quarter under review.

The NERc also stated that “no remittance was made to the MO by Paras-SBEE against an invoice of $1.92m,” in Q3 2022, adding that “the non-settlement of market obligations by this category of market participants should be a call to action for MO to activate relevant safeguards for remittance shortfalls.”

The commission went further to state that in Q2 2022, two international customers remitted a total of $7.92m, while $0.01m was not remitted by the firms.

“In 2022/Q2, Transcorp-SBEE and Mainstream-NIGELEC received invoices of $2.42m and $5.56m from MO and remitted $2.42m (100 per cent) and $5.55m (98 per cent) respectively.

“During the same period, Ajaokuta Steel Company was invoiced N264.76m and N66.71m by NBET (Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc) and MO respectively, However, it made no remittance.

“Paras-SBEE and Odukpani-CEET also received invoices of $2.39m and $2.03m respectively from MO during the period but no payment was made by these customers,” the power sector regulator stated.

(Punch)