By Davies Iheamnchor
PORT HARCOURT: Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, has urged the Federal Government and the National Assembly to make legislation criminalizing electricity theft and vandalisation of electricity transformers, poles and other facilities.
PHED noted that if this could be achieved that there would be improvement in the services of the DisCos, regretting that consumers are not willing to pay for energy consumed.
The Managing Director of PHEDC, Dr. Henry Ajagbawa, who spoke in Port Harcourt, yesterday, bemoaned that the distribution company lose over N2.5 billon monthly to electricity theft.
He urged the National Assembly to propose and pass a bill that would criminalize and punish offenders severely to serve as deterrent, regretting that metering has not improved the revenue of the DisCos as a result of bypass.
Ajagbawa noted that most customers who have meters involve in bypass, adding that the legislation if made would criminalise the act and make it punishable.
He said: “We urge Nigerians to be fair with this industry. Customers should stop tampering with our meters, it is energy theft. Energy theft is one problem we are facing. There I a lot of meter bypass.
“The only way we and survive and improve on our services is when the customers pay their bills and stop meter bypass. Those involved in meter bypass we are coming after them and we will get what belongs to us. Those sabotaging us we will not allow them again.
“We need legislation to criminalise energy theft and vandalisation of electricity facilities. If you criminalise it and make the consequences severe definitely, we will have it better. Nigerians should lern to pay for energy consumed.
“When we have our staff involved in any corrupt act we discipline them, and everyone caught in the act have been punished. We are taking drastic but humane steps to stop corruption among the staff and customers.”
Ajagbawa, who denied an attempt to lay off over 120 workers of PHEDC noted that no sack letter has been signed, stating that it was up-to-date in the payment of the salaries of its workers.
He noted that although he was arrested by the state government, quickly stated that he was in good working relationship with the government of the state.
PHEDC boss, however, commended the state government for its contribution in the electricity sector, noting that the government was constructing some distribution centres to boost electricity supply in the state.