As part of efforts to curb the activities of energy thieves within its network, one of Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution companies, Ikeja Electric (IE), has embarked on a network wide operation of naming and shaming persons involved in such illegal activities.
This will be done through newspaper publications, other traditional and conventional media platforms.
This is in addition to the penalties and fines levied for revenue loss due to energy theft; arrests and prosecution of persons involved in meter tampering, bypass, shunting, illegal hook-ups and other forms of illegalities affecting the company.
Speaking on the exercise, the Company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, explained that energy theft is a serious menace affecting the electricity industry in Nigeria.
In his words: “From our experience, while some responsible customers rightly continue to demand for improved power supply, a lot are unwilling to pay for such consumption irrespective of the amount billed. So in order to avoid payment, they embark on all forms of schemes to utilize electricity when available without paying a commensurate value.
“It has therefore become compelling for us as a business to curtail the menace by employing actions within the legal and regulatory framework available
“Electricity theft is a major factor affecting the reduction of commercial and collection losses of Distribution Companies, Discos and this further affects their ability to provide improved services including the deployment of free pre-paid meters to all customers,” he noted.
Ofulue, however, appealed to customers to desist from such criminal acts, as anyone caught (no matter how highly placed) will not be spared. The plea of ignorance of the fact of tampering/bypass by a customer will not be entertained.
“If anyone is in doubt therefore, they are advised to immediately engage their licensed electrical contractors to inspect the connections in their premises. Customers also needs to be aware of the maximum penalty provision of 21 years imprisonment under the Miscellaneous Offences Act”.
The Task Force is set to commence immediate operations in most parts of the network including Oshodi, Shomolu, Ogudu, Magodo, Ikorodu, Ikeja and environs. Customers can further visit the IE offices nearest to them if they require further clarifications.