The Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) says the proposed centralisation of electricity bill payment by the Federal Government will deepen transparency in the collection of revenue accruing to the nation’s power sector.
The Executive Secretary of APGC, Dr Joy Ogajim, said this in an interview in Abuja yesterday.
The Federal Government had mooted the idea of adopting a new centralised payment system for the settlement of the monthly electricity bills of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) however rejected the government option, noting that it amounted to nationalisation of the already privatised power sector in the country.
Ogajim said the centralisation of the payment system would provide stakeholders and Nigerians the opportunity of getting to know what consumers paid as electricity bills at the end of every month.
“You saw that the distribution companies made publications, arguing that government should not advocate centralising the payment of electricity bills.
“The market rule says Distribution Company has 25 per cent, and every player of the other chain has its own percentage and now the distribution collect and give government anything they like.
“Now, the government is saying that since you said the people are not paying for electricity, let us have a common purse.
“A purse where every Nigerian will buy electricity from one source and the money goes into a common purse, and everybody is seeing what is in the account.
“Then at the end of the month, we now see how much did the consumers pay, so that government will know where to intervene.
“Until we get that centralised purse, government will not know the area that needs intervention,” she said.
Ogajim said it was important to collect the monies meant for the smooth operation of the sector in a well structured central system.
This, she said, would also help resolve the liquidity issue in the sector.
Ogajim said the major challenge of the GENCos was the non-payment of electricity generated.
“Payment is our number one issue; let the money be in a centralised purse, so everybody will see even you that is paying will see and you can encourage others, who are not paying, to pay.”
She also said the concentration of the payment system would also engender and further garner support for a review of the tariff system.
“We agree that tariff needs to be reviewed but before we review the tariff, we need transparency that the money coming into the market is centralised.
Everybody can see it; we see what the distribution companies are collecting as payment,’’ Ogaji said. (NAN)
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