DISCOs begin customers’ enumeration to curb power theft, losses

To curb illegal electricity and power theft which has shot up losses in the sector, the 11 electricity distribution companies are set to begin enumeration of its customers in the country.
Sunday Oduntan, executive director, research and advocacy, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED) Monday noted that illegal electricity users are putting pressures on the electricity companies.
The power firms have are facing the problems of commercial and collection losses arising from malpractices; failure of goverhment’s ministeries, departments and agencies to pay energy bills promptly; harsh regulating policies among others, added that power generation would increase if all these issues were addressed effectively.
“For instance, it is unbelievable that number of electricity users in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) which consists Oyo state, Ogun state, Osun, state, Kwara state and some parts of Niger and Kogi states is less than 1.5 million. It is so because lots of users by-pass legal electricity lines and use electricity freely and with impunity.
“That is why we are now doing what we call customers’ enumeration. That will help us to capture our customers effectively. Although, it is a several billions naira, it is an expensive exercise, we are going to embark on it, if that is what we need to fight electricity theft and illegal usage of power across the country.”
He reaffirmed the imminent increase tariffs which is the only alternative owing to lack of subsidies or waivers by government to cushion effects of high and rising cost of production on the part of DISCOs.
“That is why we are saying that our people need a cost-reflective tariff, our tariffs must be cost-reflective, that is my main message to Nigerians. Now, we are selling at the rates that NEPA and PHCN used to sell electricity when government was giving them subsidies, when they were part of government’s entity, when nobody cared whether they were paid or not.
“When there was no seperate generation, transmission and distribution companies and we know where it took us: darkness. So, for there to be efficiency, let’s everybody plays his role. The tariff should reflect the cost of production. We have just finished submitting our new tariff, that was why we did a lot of consultations with our customers for them to see and feel our plights”, he added.

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