By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU—POWER Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has recommended that the whistle blowing policy be extended to the power sector to expose energy thieves.
Fashola made the recommendation at 6th Meeting of Operators of Power Sector held at Ugwuaji 330/132 KVA Transmission Sub- Station, Enugu.
The Minister noted that energy theft was not only criminal but an act of economic sabotage inimical to the power industry.
He said he doubted the assumption that only about six million households were currently making use of power in the country, saying he believed that more households were consuming energy, secretly.
He was of the view that it was the trend that gave room to estimated over- billing of non metre owners.
He therefore reiterated his call on the good citizens of the country to report illegal users of power, to enable the power sector move forward.
The Minister, however, warned against disconnection of pre-paid meters, saying he had been receiving complaints from those whose meters were disconnected.
While urging the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to continued to carry out the functions it was saddled with, he said history had shown that we have never failed any time we unite on a common purpose.
A communique issued at the end of meeting which was signed by Frank Okafor, a commissioner in NERC and representatives of the different distribution companies, had appealed to the Enugu State House of Assembly to make allowances for privatization, which it said had only been in place for four years compared to decades of public management and encouraged positive engagement with the Enugu Disco to improve service deliver.
The communique further urged Maximum Demand (Large Consumption) customers who are not metered to notify NERC to resolve payment disputes.
“NERC should take positive action with regards to disconnection of households with pre-paid meters as this action leads to low level public trust in the sector. Energy Theft is also limiting factor in quality service because a small population bears the large cost of energy consumption.
“ The public was encouraged to extend the whistle blowing policy of government to the power to ensure energy theft is brought under control, stakeholders are also encouraged to name and shame energy thieves a a deterrent,” the communique stated.
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