Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) has vowed to arrest and prosecute customers that tampers with prepaid metres distributed across its areas of responsibility.
PHED franchise area covers Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers States.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of PHED, Henry Ajagbawa, stated this when he flagged off the National Mass Metering Programme, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Ajagbawa said the reason for the metering was to give their customers value for their money and eliminate the era of estimated billing.
He stressed that the company would employ technology in tracking energy thieves, so as to arrest and prosecute them.
He said: “For every single customer caught bypassing or tampering our metres, we would arrest and prosecute. When we install the prepaid metres, customers will no longer have complaints of estimated billing, customers would only pay for what they use and the question would be for customers to manage their electricity consumption.
“We were running in an unstructured manner before. But, now, we are going to be using metrics, figures and analytics to know where the problems are coming from and attack those areas massively and when we find people bypassing, we would visit the full weight of the law on those people”, he threatened.
Ajagbawa, disclosed that 77,000 metres had been earmarked for distribution across four states, being the first phase, adding that no fewer than 20,000 metres would be installed monthly until the 1 million metres mark is reached.
He urged customers to be patient with the process as everyone would be metered on record time.
“We are going to metre every one of our customers. But, it is going to be in phases, we now have 77,000 metres to distribute in this first phase. We have already delineated our franchise area and we know exactly where these 77,000 metres are going according to the feeders.
“It is going to take a while to achieve this; but, we are pleading with our customers to be patient as we won’t install a minimum of 20,000 metres per month.
“When we are done with this first phase, we move to the next. We are already walking tirelessly to ensure that everyone is metered properly because right now, we have a gap of not less than 850,000 metres and a replacement of 100,000. So, in all, we are expecting up to 1 million metres which would be installed across our franchise area”, he stated.