The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has expressed worry over the debt profile of its customers in Bayelsa State.
PHED maintained that contrary to claims in some quarters, electricity consumers in the state were indebted to it to the tune of N16.6bn as of December 2019.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt on Friday by PHED’s Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. John Onyi, indicated that the huge debt was making service delivery difficult in the state.
Breaking down the amount owed the electricity distribution firm, Onyi said, “An updated record as of December 2019 stood at N16. 62bn.
“A breakdown of the figure showed that PHED inherited N5.19bn from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria on 31st October, 2013 while the balance of N10.64bn was from November 1, 2013 till December 2019.
“Further analysis showed that residential customers – R2 had N13.48bn while state Ministries, Department and Agencies, Yenagoa, had N2. 56bn and the federal MDAs had an outstanding of N91.56m, leaving the balance of N388.78m and N102.95m to private maximum demand and commercial maximum demand customers.
“It is also noteworthy to mention that the average electricity monthly billing in Yenagoa based on the allocation from the national grid clocks around N159.25m out of which PHED receives an average payment of N27.52m with a customer population of 21,453.”
He added, “It is unbelievable that only 3,555 customers representing 17 per cent are the ones paying their electricity bills on a monthly basis out of the population of 21,453.
“From the above figures, it is very pertinent to state unequivocally that the behavioural payment pattern of the customers in Yenagoa has left so much to be desired and one begins to wonder how PHED and indeed the power sector will survive in the midst of the skyrocketing debt and hostilities.”
Onyi said that it was not a fluke when PHED said that the outstanding electricity debt of customers in Yenagoa was posing a serious threat to its sustainability.