Eko Disco reads riot act to erring customers over energy theft

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The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDC) has warned customers tampering with pre-paid meters to desist or prepare to face the consequences.

Adeoye Fadeyibi, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, gave the warning at a customer’s consultative town hall meeting in Badagry, Lagos State, on Friday.

Fadeyibi, who was represented by Joseph Esenwa, the Chief Finance Officer of the company, decried the high rate of energy theft and non-payment of bills by customers within the network.

He said that the town hall meeting was to intimate customers within the Badagry network on the high rate of energy theft and equipment vandalism perpetrated by some customers in the communities.

The EKEDC helmsman said that the measure became necessary against the backdrop of more than N1billion lost to various forms of energy theft and vandalism in the zone.

According to him, any act of infraction will be met with stiff penalty.

“Enough is enough; Eko Disco will no longer tolerate this act of illegal tampering with our equipment and electrical installations.

“Tampering with Eko Disco meters, installations, distribution lines, equipment or assault on any field worker will attract a jail term.

“The management of EKEDC will no longer handle these actions with kid gloves; this is no empty threat. If you disregard this warning, you do so at your own risk,” he said

The EKEDC boss said that it cost the company huge amount to replace vandalised equipment and meters damaged by customers looking for shortcuts.

According to him, a task force has been set up to inspect houses of consumers and impose a penalty of N1million on anyone caught in energy theft.

“The company will not hesitate to offer to pay anyone who reports energy theft by some unscrupulous elements 10 per cent of the money recovered from such theft,” he said.

Fadeyibi said that the company would henceforth commence effective prosecution of energy theft suspects and also publish their names in national dailies.

“We appeal to our customers to avoid engaging in by-passing the meters because it is criminal and punishable under Electricity Regulation Code of Conduct Act.

“l advise customers to exercise little patience with EKEDC, as we promise to address all the issues regarding billings, metering and other challenges,” he said.

On pre-paid meters, Fadeyibi said the new Metering Assets Providers introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would address metering challenges when they finally kick start.

He called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any act of sabotage to the nearest law enforcement agencies or EKEDC.

Similarly, the Oloto of Oto-Awori kingdom, Oba Josiah Ilemobade-Aina, condemned energy theft and vandalism of power equipment within the communities.

Ilemobade-Aina said that vandals and those involved in energy theft are enemies of the society and all well-meaning people should join hands to stop them.

The monarch said that since improvement in power supply would trigger socio-economic development and create jobs for more people, protection of power equipment should be the concern of all.

He, however, urged EKEDC to address all issued raised by customers on estimated billing, overbilling and lack of meters, while appealing to the company to engage in publicity on the need to desist from energy theft.

The traditional ruler also advised Eko Electricity Distribution Company to fish out bad eggs within its fold.

He said that some of such people were in the habit of colluding with customers to engage in illegal connection and other vices.

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