TWO international customers, Niger and Benin republics, have paid Nigeria $6.6 million out of the $13 million debt owed for electricity supply from January to March, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said.

According to the regulator’s 2020 first-quarter report, Niger and Benin Republics paid $5.27 million and $1.39 million, respectively, out of $13.22 million on the invoice issued to them for electricity supply from January to March.

“The financial viability and commercial performance of the industry continued to be a major challenge with a decline in the first quarter of 2020,” the NERC said.

“During the quarter under review, the total billing to and collection from electricity consumers by all the 11 DisCos stood at N186.82billion and N114.29billion respectively.

These denote 78.38 percent and 61.18 percent billing and collection efficiency respectively, indicating 4.21 percent and 8.26 percent points decreases respectively when compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The level of collection efficiency during the quarter under review indicates that as much as N3.88 out of every N10 worth of energy sold during the first quarter of 2020 remained uncollected from consumers.

“During the quarter under review, the special customers (Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd and its environs) did not make any payment in respect of the N0.27billion and N0.05billion invoices issued by NBET and MO respectively.

“A total of N4.05billion (US$13.22 million) invoices were issued by MO to international customers (i.e., Societe Nigerienne d’electricite – NIGELEC, Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique – SBEE, and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo – CEET).

“During the quarter, NIGELEC made a payment of ₦1.61 billion (US$5.27 million) as part of its outstanding bills for the energy received from NBET and services rendered by MO. Similarly, SBEE paid N0.43 billion (US$1.39 million) in respect of services received from MO,” it said.

Under an international treaty, Nigeria sells electricity to neighboring countries like Benin Republic, Togo and Niger.

In June, the NERC said the international customers owed Nigeria N32.8 billion in electricity bills.