Consumers involved in the act of stealing power, may have to mend their ways soon as the Federal Government will soon prosecute power thieves. Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola made this disclosure while meeting with civil society organizations in Abuja. Prosecution of the power thieves, would however take place after metering issues had been sorted.
Why is this major ?
One of the biggest problems electricity distribution companies face is theft of power. The loss of revenue leaves the DISCOs unable to meet the required payments to the Nigerian Bulk Electricty Trading (NBET). The NBET purchases electricity from the generating companies (gencos) and then sells to the Discos. The shortfall in receipts from discos, has led to gencos owing suppliers of gas. The absence of meters means many Discos are unable to get an inkling of the theft till they do physical inspection.
The discos on the other hand, have blamed the revenue shortfall as one of the reasons, they have been unable to metre customers. Discos have been unable to deal with the power thieves because many of them are powerful and influential members of society. Staff of the discos have often been beaten up or harassed in their attempt to disconnect such customers.
Is this just empty talk ?
It will be interesting to see how the government will implement this going foward. Some of the biggest power thieves are Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government. Can the government literally take itself to court ? The slow judicial system, also means such cases could drag on for months, if not years.