Niger Coup: Niger Republic owes Nigeria N4bn for power supply, says NERC

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that Niger Republic presently owes Nigeria N4.22bn ($5.48m) for the provision of electricity.

This was contained in the NERC’s first quarter report released on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

According to the report, Niger’s state power firm, Nigerien Electricity Society, was yet to remit the $5.48m invoice issued for power supply by the Nigerian market operator.

“None of the underlisted international customers made any payment against the cumulative $16.11m invoice issued to them in 2023/Q1; Paras-SBEE ($3.46m), Transcorp-SBEE ($3.85 million), Mainstream-NIGELEC ($5.48m) and Odukpani-CEET ($3.32 million).

“Out of N842.38m invoice issued by MO to all the eight (8) bilateral customers in the NESI, only North-South/Star Pipe made a remittance of N15.38m against its invoice of N24.69m,” it stated.

In 2022, 70% of Niger’s share of electricity was purchased from the Nigerian business Mainstream, according to a report by NIGELEC, the country’s sole electricity supplier.

Kainji Dam in Niger State produces the electricity that is delivered to Niger.

Niger is working to finish its first dam by 2025 in order to break its energy dependence on Nigeria.

The $5.48 million invoice for electricity supply issued by the Nigerian market operator has reportedly not been paid by Nigerien Electricity Society, the country of Niger’s state-owned power company.

Meanwhile, NERC has ordered the Market Operator to use the clause in the market regulations to stop the various market players’ payment indiscipline.

According to a report by AFP, which cited industry sources through local manufacturing, said that Nigeria disconnected the high voltage line that carries electricity to Niger since Tuesday last week.

For about one hour at a stretch, residents of Niamey, Maradi, and Zinder received power before it was shut off for up to five hours. In Niger, where supplies are often consistent and reliable, power outages like these are uncommon.

Kunle Olubiyo, the coordinator of Power Sector Perspectives and president of the Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, confirmed that ECOWAS would cut off the Niger Republic’s access to the energy grid.

“About 60 percent of power supply to Niger comes from Nigeria. Just like organised labour usually shuts down the national power grid as part of negotiations when all appeals might have failed to achieve results, Mr President (Tinubu) is the leader of ECOWAS at the moment.

“Disconnection of power supply is seen as a low-hanging fruit,” Olubiyo said

The Kandadji Dam, which is situated about 180 km upstream of Niamey, is anticipated to produce 629 gigawatt-hours of energy annually.

Major cities in Niger are reportedly experiencing rolling blackouts as a result of last week’s coup, according to a BBC story.

✍️ Temitope Hassan