PHEDC loses N233m to theft, official alleges

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Calabar  –   The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) says it loses N233 million monthly to stealing of electrical installations, illegal connection, owing of bills and others.

Mr Nsikak Udi, the Head of Revenue Protection in the company, said this at a news conference shortly after a meeting of the company with electricity customers on Saturday in Calabar, noting that the electricity company had suffered great loss.

According to him, over 7.19 per cent of electricity consumers indulge in the activities of owing bills, vandalising electrical installations, illegal connections and others.

“As it is now, PHEDC is losing N233 million monthly to direct theft. These direct thefts are those persons who hook up to our meters directly; by-pass bills and carries out illegal connections.

“We recently carried out a field operation on our customers in our area of operation and we found out that about 9,000 of them on the prepaid platform have never paid bills for once.

“These people have been stealing electricity supply. Electricity theft comes in different form; direct hooking by welders to carry out their activities and illegal connections, among others.

“These illegal connectors are not in our billing system, the energy they consume is not recorded and these groups of person are also involved in electricity theft.

“We are saying that such things should not be allowed to continue anymore as anyone caught would face law’’, he warned.

He said that if such activities were not reported by concerned citizens to the right authority, consumers would continue to suffer power outage.

He, however, warned electricity workers to stop conniving with consumers in reducing their billings for self gains.

“This N233 million monthly loss can get us 95 transformers every month, it can also fetch us over 8,400 three face prepaid meters monthly and 5,400 single face prepaid meters every month.

“Also, this amount of money can also give us 30 brand new vehicles to help us carry out our duties effectively.

“We are saying no to energy theft. We are also collaborating with security agencies so that they can help us curb this ugly incident’’, he said.

He added that the company had arrested some persons in connection with electricity theft, saying that no fewer than five of them had been prosecuted.

NAN reports that PHEDC is in charge of power distribution to Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa (NAN)