By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) has said that it has lost an average of N21 billion on energy theft in six years, representing N3.5 yearly from its operational four states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Cross River which constitute the company coverage areas.
John Onyi, Manager, Corporate Communications of PHED who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday, said this theft of energy occurred despites the efforts the company was making to improve the services in line with business contract.
Onyi also disclosed that in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, PHED lost 104 electricity transformers of various sizes between Monday and Tuesday this week.
He also stated other challenges faced by PHED in discharging its functions to customers, pointing out that over N161.7 billion have been owed to the company by some customers across the four states since the commencement of its operations in 2013.
His words, “PHED started six years ago to collaborate with the public. PHED is losing 3.5 billion annually on energy theft. They are tampering with our meters despites the efforts we are making.
“In Uyo the Akwa Ibom state capital, we lost as at two days ago, 104 transformers to this act of vandalism, it is not encouraging. Losing 104 transformers to vandals, when we should be talking about extension in the network, is a major challenge.
“We also want you to know that as at close of business on 30th of June 2019, some customers are owing PHEDC in the four states about 161,788 billion, this money will do a lot, aside that other challenges we are facing in the system, and when it occurs we don’t know anybody, we will always fall back to the service provider who is of course PHED,” Mr. Onyi lamented.
He appealed to the media to sensitize the public on the sad development and employ them not to look the other side when any suspicious movement is noticed within PHED installations by raising alarm since raising alarm will solve the situation.
On the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) directives on metering, PHED Corporate Communications Manager said the company has in 2017 rolled out over 1000 prepaid meters, both single and three faces and gave it out free to customers having discovered that before then there was 4.7 million in metering gap.
But upon the new policy by NERC that meters should not given out free, he said that over 100,000 meters have been rolled out both single and three face meters and sold at the cost of N38.841.07 for single face while N70,408.64 for three face both including value added tax (VAT)
Mr. Onyi lamented the low turnout of customers to purchase the meters which are in stock in all PHED offices, adding that in Akwa Ibom for instance only 13,000 customers have paid so paid to acquire their prepaid meters.