The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has disclosed that incidences of power theft is predominant in Edo State, adding that it may adopt a whistle-blowing policy to address energy theft in the state and in the country.
Executive Director of ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, disclosed this during an energy stakeholders’ town hall meeting held in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Monday.
Oduntan lamented that the state was the most culpable among its counterparts across the country.
He said, “People steal energy in this Edo State more than any other state. That, to me, is not a good thing for Edo State. So even when people talk about meters, we give you meters and you bypass it and those things cost a lot of money.
“We have pictures and videos of premises and even people who are leaders, civil rights activists, stealing energy and saying that it was a form of protest. To me, that is not a form of protest; it is criminality.”
Oduntan, however, stated that the association was of the view that a whistle-blowing policy would assist the DISCOs to expose the perpetrators and get value for their services.
He said, “We are working towards that (whistle-blowing). We believe that if you help us know what is going on in your neighbourhood, it will not only help us, it will also help you, in terms of what you pay.
“The truth is that if you do not let us know, you are paying for one thief in your neighbourhood.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, explained that part of the challenges facing the DISCOs was the perception of many consumers that power supply was a social amenity provided by government, despite the privatisation.
Osibodu, who was represented by the Executive Director (Commercial), Mr. Abu Ejoor, however, assured that the firm would continue to provide quality services, even as it worked towards filling the 750,000 metering gap.
On his part, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Dr. Justin Okonoboh, noted that 70 per cent of the problems facing the distribution company could be addressed with adequate metering and a corresponding billing system.
Okonoboh explained, “If it (BEDC) can provide meters for every home, it will be able to get the money for what it sells out. If we too get the right billings from what we get from, that will solve more than 70 per cent of their problems.
“If they can do that, while we support the generation companies to have new machines to generate electricity, I think we will be out of this situation.”
He added, “But there is also the political aspect. There are a lot of independent power plants around; they have not been able to come release what they generate because of some politics between the BEDC and them.
“If that is sorted out, the power situation in this country will take a better shape.”