By Raji Rasak
A group, Citizens Access to Electricity Initiatives (CATEIN) on Wednesday blamed the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for encouraging theft of energy among consumers.
Mr Abdul-Rasak Fashola, National Coordinator of CATEIN, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He spoke against the backdrop of complaints that DisCos were losing millions of naira as a result of energy theft.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DisCos recently raised alarm over the high rate of energy theft by unscrupulous customers.
According to them, the level of theft and vandalism of power equipment militates against improved operations and service delivery nationwide.
The DisCos also lamented the rate at which power consumers bypass their meters and steal their cables, which were having negative effects on their operations.
The CATEIN coordinator, however, said that companies were the architects of their misfortune regarding energy theft because they encouraged consumers to bypass electricity supply.
According to Fashola, they have scrapped metering unit, thereby outsourcing the work of installing meters to contractors.
“During the defunct PHCN, meter was a source of income, there was a unit that controlled meter installation, but now the DisCos have outsourced the unit to contractors.
“By outsourcing the job of meter installation to contractors, DisCos have given rooms for energy theft.
“The so called contractors then hire roadside electricians to do the installation for consumers after they have undergone training.
“These electricians are ready to compromise as long as consumers are able to give them extra money in order to bypass some household appliances,’’ he said.
He said that those installing meters would collect money from prospective consumers and help them to bypass some appliances since they were not accountable to the DisCos.
“As long as they are not employed by DisCos, their obligation rests with the contractors, who hired them, so why won’t they compromise with consumers.
“Put your houses in order and energy theft will be reduced considerably,” Fashola said.
The coordinator assured electricity companies of consumers’ willingness to assist them only if they could block the loopholes to energy theft.