Lagos company urges FG to punish electricity thieves
Mr Olalemi Adegbenro, Head, Networks and Planning of Ikeja Electric, on Friday called on the Federal Government to enact a law to punish electricity thieves.
Adegbenro made the appeal on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
“Some people are deliberately stealing electricity through illegal connection and if government can make it a criminal offence not bailable for anybody that cheats or steals electricity.
“When the Distribution Companies catch somebody stealing electricity and take him to the police station, the person only pays for the loss of the revenue.
“And the cost of revenue paid by the culprit may not be equal to the cost of the energy the person has stolen and at the end he would be released.”
He disclosed that Ikeja Electric was currently involved in massive metering of its customers with prepaid smart meters.
Adegbenro added that many customers of the company being provided with meters now were on 33 KVA lines.
He said obsolete, damaged and tampering of meters by fraudulent customers among the challenges facing the company.
Adegbenro explained that some customers whose meters functioned well, sometimes manipulated them to avoid paying correct charges.
He said the attitude made the company to install smart meters that would enable it to monitor whatever each customer consumed.
He decried a situation where some customers did not want to be metered because the actual energy they consumed would reflect on their meters.
Adegbenro expressed regret that customers owed a lot of revenues to distribution companies and still regarded them as government companies that provided free services.
He urged the electricity consumers to pay their bills as the distribution companies had been privatised.
According to him, customers owed Ikeja Electric 30 to 40 per cent of uncollected revenues because many of them do not want to pay their bills