June 21, 2024

Energy theft: FG plans electricity offences tribunal



The Federal Government said yesterday it was working on establishing an electricity offences tribunal to combat power theft in the country.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, Aliyu Tahir, who disclosed this, said:  “We are working on the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal with an in-built appeal system for faster dispensation of electricity-related offences. It is to vest NEMSA in-house counsel with powers to prosecute electricity offences.”

Providing further explanation about the tribunal, Tahir said the initiative would adequately check electricity theft when implemented, adding that the National Assembly had been informed.

“We are looking at the establishment of this electricity tribunal to be able to enforce our mandates more. When you look at the enforcement, with respect to sanctioning of violators in the Act, it is a very long process.

“So to fast-track the prosecution of offenders, the establishment of this tribunal solely for the power sector will go a long way in ensuring that we fast-track the process, carry out enforcements and sanction violators,” he said.

The NEMSA boss said based on the powers conferred on the agency in the Electricity Act, NEMSA had been working hard to establish a tribunal that would speedily try electricity-related offences.

He noted that with the tribunal, issues of electricity theft would be addressed speedily and violators prosecuted as quickly as possible.

While noting that the agency was interfacing with the National Assembly on this, Tahir said further:  “The establishment of this tribunal has been brought to the knowledge of the legislature and we’ve made submissions to them. Our hope is that they will amend the Electricity Act to include a provision for this.”

He also said his agency was perfecting the process for the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal with an inbuilt appeal system to speedily tackle power-related offences.

He said a total of 2,655,488 meters in the power sector had been tested and calibrated, as most of the equipment had been deployed for use by consumers across the country.

Tahir stated that in line with the mandate of the agency, NEMSA has tested and calibrated over 2.6 million meters.

He said NEMSA, which is an agency of the federal government established in 2015, was still testing and calibrating more meters to ensure their functionality, durability and safety when in use

“A total of 21,681 electricity installation projects have been inspected and tested, out of which 13,154 have been certified. Also, a total of 16,624 electricity networks have been monitored by NEMSA.

“About 4,921 factories, hazardous installations and public places have been inspected, tested and certified fit, while 2,655,488 electricity meters have been tested and calibrated, as 487 incidences were investigated by the agency,” the NEMSA boss added.

Tahir, who said the figures were based on data compiled by NEMSA as of the first quarter of 2024, added that the Electricity Act 2023 had strengthened the enforcement powers and responsibilities of the agency.