April 21, 2024

Nigerian Government demands $1.7 million in outstanding electricity debt from Togo, Benin Republic 

 

Oredola Adeola

 

The Nigerian Government has requested Togo and Benin Republic, two cross-border electricity market participants, to settle $1,715,786.25 (N1,304,685,789.06 at N760.40 to a US$1) outstanding debt for energy exported to the two countries.

 

 

Engr. Edmund Eje, General Manager (Market Operator) Transmission Company of Nigeria, made this known during a meeting with the representatives from Transcorp Power, Benin Republic (SBEE), Togo (CEET), Transmission Company for both SBEE and (CEB), PARAS and NDPHC on Monday.

 

 

EnergyDay gathered that the meeting between MO-TCN and the cross-border market participants was focused on energy transaction issues, challenges as well as the need to proffer suitable solutions towards smooth business operations on the distribution of energy exported to Togo and Benin Republic.

 

 

The Market Operator (MO) is an independent entity that operates is responsible for managing the cross-border electricity market participants between Nigeria and other countries. It is responsible for ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the wholesale electricity market, including the settlement of payments between market participants.

 

 

Other issues discussed at the meeting was an outstanding energy reconciliation issue between Togo and Benin Republic for the period of October 2020 to February 2021, wherein the two countries believed that the MO would reconcile them as a neutral operator.

 

 

MO confirmed that the two countries’ legacy outstanding debt of $1,715,786.25 is the correct outstanding debt owed to Nigeria by the two countries.

 

 

Recall that, the two countries -Togo and Benin Republic were enjoying sovereign off-take of power supply until 2019 when the two countries resorted to going into bilateral energy transaction in view of the fact that both Generators and Distributors in Nigeria had been privatized.

 

 

Meanwhile, NERC had recently released a report stating that the three West African countries, Niger, Togo, and Benin owe Nigeria a total of $16.11 million for electricity supply in the first quarter of 2023.

 

NERC in the quarterly report claimed that total amount owed by Transcorp-Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) of Benin Republic, Paras-SBEE, and Odukpani-Compagnie Energie Electriques du Togo (CEET) is $10.63 million as at Q1,2023.

 

The breakdown of the debt showed that Transcorp-Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) of Benin Republic owes $3.85 million, Paras-SBEE owes $3.46 million, and Odukpani-Compagnie Energie Electriques du Togo (CEET) owes $3.32 million.

 

 

On the contrary, the Market Operator however claimed that the outstanding debt owed by the two countries is $1,715,786.25.

 

Dr. Eje clarified the matter and asked EnergyDay to disregard the claim of NERC on the cross-border electricity market participants.

 

The MO GM noted that Togo and Benin Republic were not pleased with the conflicting figures released by the NERC regarding their debt owed to Nigeria.

 

 

He noted that the two countries have written a petition to the MO to correct the figure, claiming that they do not owe up to the $10.63 million claimed by NERC.

He said, “Prior to 2019, before the market was restructured into bilateral energy transactions, Togo had always been making remittances of its portion of its invoice to Benin Republic through the Communauté électrique du Bénin (CEB) energy production dispatching and transport project.

 

 

Dr. Eje revealed that the two countries have almost liquidated their legacy debt and made assurance to settle their invoice.

 

Mr. Usman Arabi, who is the General Manager of NERC’s Public Affairs Department, could not be reached for comment as calls made to his contacts were unsuccessful.

 

 

The Market Operator (MO) of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is responsible for managing the cross-border electricity market participants between Nigeria and other countries.

 

Cross-border electricity trading can improve reliability, affordability, and access to electricity by enabling countries with surplus energy to exchange power with countries experiencing energy deficits.

 

By connecting respective national grids to a regional grid, countries can eliminate the cost of investing in local generation capacity and bolster energy security by increasing the diversity of available energy resources.