We’re los­ing N238bn monthly to theft – Power firm

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Sun­day Michael Ogwu, La­gos

The Port Har­court Elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany has said it loses over seven mil­lion kilo­watt-hour, an equiv­a­lent of over N238bn, to di­rect elec­tric­ity theft a month.

The Head, Rev­enue Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment, PHED, Mr. Nsika Udi, said on Fri­day dur­ing Con­sumers’ Fo­rum that the di­rect tap­ping of en­ergy, be­sides me­ter by­pass, il­le­gal con­nec­tion, and fraud in billing, ac­counted for 80 per cent of power theft.

He added that the en­ergy theft was not re­stricted to di­rect steal­ing of en­ergy by the con­sumers that had not been of­fi­cially con­nected to the grid or those that had di­verted load from the vis­i­bil­ity of the en­ergy me­ter alone, but also ex­tended to in­di­vid­u­als that had been billed but de­lib­er­ately re­fused to pay or cheat at pay­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to him, 60 per cent of cus­tomers do not pay their bills/vend­ing, not­ing that the de­vel­op­ment re­sulted in the com­pany los­ing over 30MW, an equiv­a­lent of N2bn aver­age monthly.

He added that 10 per cent of pre­paid cus­tomers had not vended since they had been con­nected and 43.53 per cent of the pre­paid cus­tomers last vended over six months ago.

“The most crit­i­cal chal­lenge fac­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion sec­tor is how to re­duce the tech­ni­cal, com­mer­cial and col­lec­tion losses.

“We lose 7,581,289.63 kWh or N238,333,002 from di­rect en­ergy theft alone. Non­pay­ment of bills/vend­ing ac­counts for over 60 per cent of the monthly ag­gre­gate tech­ni­cal, com­mer­cial and col­lec­tion losses and this amounts to 30MW or N2bn aver­age monthly losses.

“We also noted that 10 per cent pre­paid cus­tomers had never vended since they were con­nected over three months ago while 43.53 per cent of pre­paid cus­tomers last vended over six months ago. And we have also recorded 27.32 per cent by­pass from 571 pre­paid me­ters au­dited dur­ing plug the bleed­ing ini­tia­tives,” he said.

Udi asked con­sumers to de­mand proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion/ card and job card from any per­sons found work­ing on the net­work or in­fra­struc­ture within the neigh­bour­hood.

The con­sumers blamed the power com­pany for fail­ing to pro­vide en­ergy to Nige­ri­ans, say­ing that it was their of­fi­cials and con­trac­tors that aided and abet­ted de­fraud­ing of the con­sumers and the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The state chair­man of the Trade Union Con­gress, Mr. Akamba Awah, said mass re­trench­ment of former PHED em­ploy­ees might have been re­spon­si­ble for di­rect and in­di­rect tap­ping of power, thus re­sult­ing in colos­sal loss to the com­pany.

Awah, how­ever, blamed the power com­pany for poor ser­vice, in­ac­cu­rate billings, which he main­tained might have con­trib­uted to the non-pay­ment of the bills by con­sumers.

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