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‘You cannot cheat Nigeria’ — TCN asks Togo, Benin to pay $9m electricity bills

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has asked its international electricity customers to pay $9 million outstanding power bills.

Usman Mohammed, managing director of TCN, made this remark in Abuja, he said these countries will not be allowed to cheat Nigeria.

Nigeria supplies electricity to Niger, Togo, and Republic of Benin

Mohammed, who is also the chairman of West African Power Pool (WAAP), said the international electricity customers have accumulated a bill of over $100 million since he assumed office.

He said the government supplies electricity to contracted international customers, and that those who are defaulting in payment will be disconnected.

“It is not because I am the chairman of the West African Power Pool (WAAP) that I will be allowing international customers to cheat Nigeria,” Mohammed said.

“When I took over as MD TCN, both Benin and Togo were owing Nigeria more than $100 million. The debt now remains $7 million.

“Niger is owing less than $2 million. In short, we are not leaving them. We disconnect them as we disconnect customers here in Nigeria. Electricity is not charity. We cannot just allow people to consume electricity and leave us like that.

“As at now, we have restricted their supply to only their contracted ones. We are insisting they pay all their outstanding bills before we reconnect them and we increase the off-take.”

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said in its 2019 report that the international customers refused to pay for the energy invoice issued to them.

“During the quarter under review, the special and international customers made no payment to NBET and MO. The invoices issued to Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd (designated as special customer) and international customers (i.e., Societe Nigerienne d’electricite – NIGELEC and Communaute Electrique du Benin–CEB) stood at ₦0.32billion and ₦10.85billion respectively,” the report said.

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