Power firm loses N2.5bn monthly to electricity theft

By Moses Uwagbale

The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) says it loses more than  N2.5 billion every month to energy theft in the area.

The Managing Director of the comapny, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, stated this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Ajagbawa attributted the theft to the illegal activities of unscrupulous electricity consumers in PHED’s area of jurisdiction.

He stated that plans were underway to publish the names of customers, who evade payment of bills for energy they consumed over time through illegal connections.

According to him, the company would not only name and shame those involved in meter tampering, shunting, illegal hook-ups, among other illegalities, but also prosecute them.

“We are really worried about the negative impact of energy theft on the business continuity of the company.

“We are concerned because PHED is losing over N2.5 billion revenue on a monthly basis due to energy theft, thereby threatening the sustainability of the company,” Ajagbawa stated.

He said the revenue losses were accumulated from its operations in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states.

“So, we are determined to eradicate energy theft in the system and that is why we are collaborating with security agencies to tackle this challenge.

“Henceforth, any customer caught bypassing or tampering with our metre will not only be named and shamed but shall face the full weight of the law.

“The offender will also be made to pay loss of our revenue arising from his or her unwholesome act,” Ajagbawa stated.

The PHED boss stated that energy theft should not be the concern of distribution companies only but every citizen.

He stated that distribution companies needed customers to pay for electricity consumed to enable them to invest more and expand their network.

Ajagbawa urged  the National Assembly to initiate a bill criminalising energy theft and vandalism of electricity installations.

“If we criminalise them and make the consequences severe, then we will definitely have them better.

“Nigerians should imbibe the culture of paying for energy they consumed,” he added.