By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government has begun moves to ensure that anyone who engages in electricity theft across the country was jailed for a period of seven years.
Consequently, the government is proposing a bill that seeks for an Act to prohibit and prevent electricity theft.
The bill is being proposed by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, led by Prof. James Adeche Momoh
The bill, entitled, “A Bill for an Act to prohibit and prevent electricity theft, power infrastructure vandalism and power company protection 2017,” was submitted to the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, chaired by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South).
The document was presented to the Committee on Power for onward presentation to the Senate in plenary for consideration and subsequent passage into law.
According to government, the action has become imperative because the power sector in Nigeria has been reported to suffer from high energy losses of between 30 per cent and 35 per cent, largely blamed on stealing and sabotage.
In his presentation, Executive Chairman of NERC, Professor James Momoh, explained that instances of some electricity consumers by-passing electric meters and the vandalism of power transformers, feeder pillars, electric cable stealing, were rife.
According to NERC, the situation directly contributes to the present crisis in the power sector, and that for Nigeria, taking stern measures to combat the menace logically comes within the larger context of the Federal Government’s current battle against corruption.
It added that the country could barely generate a mere 4,043 megawatts from its 23 grid-connected generating facilities.
The agency noted that the country had one of the lowest power consumption per capita in the world, adding that power lines vandalism and electricity theft were implicated.
According to NERC, this has necessitated the need to take timely and tough actions to curb the menace.
“If we fail to act decisively in correcting the ills of the power sector, including public power leakage, the opportunity for the country to recover could be lost,’’ the agency insisted.