By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – The Management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDCP) on Thursday said that over N 1.33 billion was yet to be collected from customers for their bills in March.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oladele Amoda, disclosed this during a stakeholders’ consultative forum with Lekki customers in Lagos to rub minds on how to address payment of electricity bills.
NAN reports that the forum is tagged “prompt payment of electricity bills to enhance effective power supply’’.
Amoda, who was represented by the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sam Nwaire, said that the company recovered N4.8 billion payment out of N6.1 billion owed by customers for March.
He said that the company was still battling to recover over N.13 billion debt being owed by customers for the month, adding that such huge debts had affected the company’s major projects.
According to him, energy supply to the company from the national grid has increased from 150 megawatts to 300 megawatts in the month.
“This has boosted effective power distributions to customers but yet majority of the customers refused payment.
“In spite of the quantum of supply distributed to customers in the Month of March, large numbers of customers were yet to turn out for payment.
“We have equally recorded over N6.5 billion energy consumed by customers for the month of April but we are yet to compute the final payment chats and outstanding customers debt profile since the month is still running,’’ he said.
Amoda said that the 20 per cent compensation promised to offer anyone who reported energy theft by unscrupulous elements was yielding good result.
He said that the company recorded high rate of customers who came to report those engaging in such act.
According to him, we have received over 10 people who came to report those who are by-passing meters.
“A task force has been set up to inspect houses of consumers and impose a penalty of N1m on anyone caught in energy theft.
“The company would henceforth commence effective prosecution of energy theft suspects and also publish their names in the national dailies.
“We appeal to our customers to avoid engaging in by-passing the meters because it’s criminal and punishable under Electricity Regulation Code of Conduct Act,’’ he said.
On metering, Amoda said that the company had commenced deployment of the first phase of over 600 free pre-paid meters to all Eko disco’s district area.
He said that the company would ensure that over 140,000 free pre-paid meters are installed in every district areas before the end of the year while appealing to residents to ensure prompt payment of their bills.
The Eko disco boss said that about seven suspected vandals were arrested in various locations of its operations and were facing prosecution.
He said that one of them was caught at Thomas Street in Surulere area of Lagos when he was caught in the act by a security guard in the area.
The EKEDCP helmsman said that the suspect was caught trying to cart away 4core/70mm cable at Eko Club sub-station.
He urged communities to be vigilant and guard against activities of vandals in their area, adding that the company would work hand in hand with the police to ensure that the suspects and others would be duly prosecuted in the court.
Amoda said that the measure became necessary against the backdrop of over N1 billion lost to various forms of electricity theft and vandalism in the zone.
He said that electricity materials, such as cables and wires, had either been stolen or vandalised within its operations.
He said some areas where equipment vandalism had been rampant included Apapa, Mushin, Ikoyi, Ajegunle and FESTAC of Lagos State.
According to Mr. Amoda, equipment such as 300KVA and 500KVA are being destroyed in Eko Disco monthly.
“Vandalism of electricity installations in the areas has become a problem, and within the past four months, the unit has recorded further acts of vandalism of nine transformer substations,” he said.