The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, says it loses more than N2.5 billion to energy theft monthly.
Managing Director of PHED, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, who announced this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday, saying plans are underway to publish names of customers who bypass their meters to steal electricity.
He said aside from naming and shaming persons involved in meter tampering, shunting, illegal connections, among other illegalities, the offenders would be prosecuted.
“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.
Ajagbawa said the revenue losses were accumulated from its operations in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states.
“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.
The PHED boss said that energy theft should not be the concern of distribution companies only but that of every citizen.
He said that distribution companies needed customers to pay for electricity consumed to enable the companies to invest more and expand their networks.
Ajagbawa urged the National Assembly to initiate Bill criminalising energy theft and electricity facilities vandalism.
“If we criminalise 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.