…Firm threatens to publish defaulters list
Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, (PHE Disco), has concluded plans to publish names of customers stealing electricity and those who have refused to pay bills of power already consumed.

The company said in a statement last Sunday that its operations are getting grounded over monthly losses of N2.5 billion to energy thieves.

Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company is one of the 11 Discos licensed by Nigeria after the dismemberment of the erstwhile Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2004.

The operational areas of the Disco include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states.
Managing director of Port Harcourt Disco, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, who issued the statement said many of the entities that are bypassing their meters and stealing electricity are corporate bodies and public institutions, and went on to threaten to publish names of the culprits.

In addition to naming them, Ajagbawa said the culprits will in addition prosecuted according to the law. “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 more than N2.5 billion on a monthly basis due to energy theft, thereby threatening the sustainability of the company.

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

“Consequently, any customer caught bypassing or tampering with our meter 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,” he said.

Ajagbawa urged the National Assembly to initiate Bill criminalising energy theft and electricity facilities vandalism. “If we criminalize it and make the consequences severe, then we will definitely have it better. Nigerians should learn to pay for the energy they consume,” he stressed.

The PHED boss said Nigerians should not view energy theft as the problem of only the Discos because the losses and theft affect the overall performance of the Disco, and in turn the other customers of the particular Disco.

He said that distribution companies needed customers to pay for electricity consumed to enable the companies to invest more and expand their networks.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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