“If Nigeria doesn’t kill you, nothing will,” Chuks Okoli, an energy engineer, said in a Twitter message recently.
Do you know most of the energy theft customers caught stealing energy without paying are elites living in enlightened areas of our operations.
Do you also know that a lot of Nigerians, including wealthy people, steal power by bypassing their meters and connecting directly to the power source? Others place heavy pieces of equipment that consume more energy directly to the power source while less-energy consuming ones are placed on the meters.
Last year, Eko Distribution Company said it was losing about 30 percent of its power to thieves. Today, Nigeria has about eleven distribution companies that ensure power is brought directly to your home across all states of the country. These distribution companies, which are known as ‘Discos’ are 11 in number and they are like privately-run companies with a board of directors and management team. These 11 Companies have a uniform complaint: Energy Theft!
Based on some reforms, Eko Electricity Distribution Plc has been effectively supplying power to the southern part of Lagos State and the Agbara community in Ogun State. These licensed areas are segmented into 11 districts – Lekki, Ibeju, Islands, Orile, Ijora, Apapa, Mushin, Festac, Ojo, Ajah and Agbara.
Ivie Ehanmo, an energy lawyer said, “One of the largest contributory factors to the commercial losses and liquidity challenges that accrue to the power sector is the theft of electricity, which is illegal and should be given stronger regulatory backing than the current inactive structures in place in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI)”.
NERC formulated the Electricity Theft and Other Related Offences Regulations in 2013 to deter electricity theft and the destruction of electricity supply infrastructure, but it is “still in its draft form and hence not in full force and effect”, says Ehanmo.
Electricity theft through illegal connections or meter tampering is a serious offence! If you are an offender, you will be fined and held liable for your actions. In addition, your electricity supply will be disconnected. Please desist from electricity theft.
It is surprising that educated customers constitute the bulk of energy thieves within Eko Electricity Distribution Company’s network.
This is a passionate appeal to you, please understand the essence of paying for electricity consumed, rather than engaging in stealing electricity.
Information has it that most customers caught engaging in energy theft live in high brow areas such as ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island and most high brow areas,” he said.
Dr. Tinuade Sanda: Please Publish Names of Electricity Thieves
To the management of EKO Electricity Distribution Company Plc, it would be a brilliant idea if you bell the cat, by publishing names of energy theft customers within your network.
The company is said to be losing nothing less than 30 per cent revenue to energy theft monthly.
While experts are calling on the government to pass the legislation criminalising energy theft in the country, industry watchers say issues like these are not difficult to manage with smart meters capable of calculating correct energy usage.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper