It doesn’t get any worse for electricity distribution companies in Nigeria.

Their customers are owing them to the tune of 62.2 billion naira within a space of three months.

This revelation is coming from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.

The debt was recorded in the second quarter of last year, that is between April and June.

According to NERC in its latest report on the commercial performance of the power sector, electricity users paid 111.5 billion naira out of the total of 173.7 billion naira that was given to them as bill by the 11 power distribution companies operating in Nigeria.

The commission said the indebtedness was contributory to the financial crisis in the power sector, adding that the crisis in the sector had remained one of the major challenges in the industry.

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NERC said: “Financial illiquidity remains one of the most significant challenges threatening the sustainability of the power industry.

“The liquidity challenge is partly attributed to the non-implementation of cost-reflective tariffs, high technical and commercial losses exacerbated by energy theft, and consumers’ apathy to payments under the widely prevailing practice of estimated billing.

“The total billing to electricity consumers by the 11 Discos was 173.7 billion naira in the second quarter of 2018 but only a sum of 111.5 billion naira was the aggregate collection representing 64.2% collection efficiency.”

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