Worried about the high level of energy theft in the country, Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDC), has warned electricity customers to desist from tampering with pre-paid meters or face grave consequences.
The Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Adeoye Fadeyibi, gave the warning at a customer consultative town hall meeting in Lagos recently.
Fadeyibi, who was represented by his Chief Finance Officer, Joseph Esenwa, decried the high rate of energy theft and non-payment of bills by customers within the network.He said that the town hall became necessary to intimate customers within the Badagry network on the high rate of energy theft, and equipment vandalism perpetuated by some customers in the communities.
The EKEDC helmsman said the measure became necessary against the backdrop of over N1billion lost to various forms of energy theft and vandalism in the zone.He warned: “Any act of infraction will be met with a stiff penalty. Enough is enough; Eko Disco will no longer tolerate this act of illegal tampering of our equipment and electrical installations.
“Tampering with Eko Disco meters, installations, distribution lines, equipment or assault on any field worker will attract a jail term. “The management of EKEDC will no longer handle these actions with kid gloves; this is no empty threat. If you disregard this warning, you do so at your own risk.”
The EKEDC boss said it cost the company a huge amount to replace vandalised equipment and meters damaged by customers in a bid to bypass the meters. According to him, a task force has been set up to inspect houses of consumers, and impose a penalty of N1million on anyone caught in energy theft.“The company will not hesitate to offer to pay anyone who reports energy theft by some unscrupulous elements 10 per cent of the money recovered from such thefts,” he promised.
Fadeyibi also said the company would henceforth commence effective prosecution of energy theft suspects, and also publish their names in the national dailies.“We appeal to our customers to avoid engaging in by-passing the meters because it’s criminal and punishable under the Electricity Regulation Code of Conduct Act.
“l advise customers to exercise a little patience with EKEDC, as we promise to address all the issues regarding billings, metering, and other challenges.”The CEO added that the newly introduced Metering Assets Providers by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), would address metering challenges when it finally kicks off.
Similarly, the Oloto of Oto-Awori kingdom, Oba Josiah Ilemobade-Aina, condemned energy theft and vandalism of power equipment by those he described as criminal elements within the communities. Ilemobade-Aina, who is also the Kuyamiku 1of Oto-Awori, said perpetrators of vandalism and energy theft are enemies of the society, and urged all well-meaning people to join hands to stop them.
The monarch said since improvement in power supply would trigger socio-economic development and create jobs for more people, protection of power equipment should be the concern of all lovers of development.
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