By Adewale Sanyaolu
Ikeja Electric (IE) has announced plans to commence newspaper publication of energy thieves as part of measures aimed at addressing the rising cases of revenue loss.
The move, according to IE, is to be deployed within the Disco’s network while using other traditional and conventional media platforms.
And to give credence to the latest initiative, IE has equally floated a task force to commence immediate operations in most parts of the network including Oshodi, Shomolu, Ogudu, Magodo, Ikorodu, Ikeja and environs.
Head of Corporate Communications, IE, Mr. Felix Ofulue, said the measure is in addition to the penalties and fines levied for revenue loss due to energy theft; arrests and prosecution of persons involved in meter tampering, bypass, shunting, illegal hook-ups and other forms of illegalities affecting the company.
Ofulue regretted that energy theft is a serious menace affecting the electricity industry in Nigeria because the reduction of commercial and collection losses of Discos further affects their inability to provide improved services, including the deployment of free pre-paid meters to all customers.
“From our experience, while some responsible customers rightly continue to demand for improved power supply, a lot are unwilling to pay for such consumption irrespective of the amount billed. So to avoid payment, they embark on all forms of schemes to utilise electricity when available without paying a commensurate value. It has therefore become compelling for us as a business to curtail the menace by employing actions within the legal and regulatory framework available.
Ofulue, however, appealed to customers to desist from such criminal acts, as anyone caught, no matter how highly placed, will not be spared. The plea of ignorance of the fact of tampering/bypass by a customer will not be entertained.
“If anyone is in doubt, therefore, they are advised to immediately engage their licensed electrical contractors to inspect the connections in their premises. Customers also need to be aware of the maximum penalty provision of 21 years imprisonment under the Miscellaneous Offences Act,” he said.