From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The management of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, has disclosed that it loses over N2 billion monthly to energy theft and customers who declined payment of bills for electricity power consumed.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of PHED, Dr. Henry Ajagbawa made this disclosure on Tuesday during a press briefing in Port Harcourt.
Dr Ajagbawa who frowned at the rate meters are tempered by non PHED staff across its franchise area of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states, said the company has embarked on measures to eliminate corruption in the system.
Ajagbawa however, urged PHED subscribers to always pay their bills for efficient service delivery and stop cutting corners for energy supply, warning that anyone caught in illegal operations will be arrested and made to face the law.
He noted that his company is working in partnership with the Rivers State Government for steady power supply in the state.
“Nigerians should be fair to this industry so we should be able to pay for services. Customers should stop tampering with the meter so we have a collective benefit in our service.
“We are taking drastic and humane measures to eliminate corruption in the system. The only way we can survive is that our customers should pay bills when due and stop cutting corners
“On a monthly basis, we should be generating N4.5 billion but we recover about N2.3 billion losing over N2 billion to either people who have stolen the energy or those who used but refused to pay.
“In our franchise areas, we are lucky to have good relationship with the government of the states.
“In Rivers State we are working so closely with the state government in ensuring steady power supply in the state”.
The PHED boss who stressed that vandalisation is the major problem in the industry, called on the Legislature to enact a law that will criminalise energy theft in the country.
“Vandalism is a problem. We need to have a legislature that criminalised bad behaviour, who will criminalise power theft. There has to be a legislature that will criminalise energy theft, so that our people will understand the national importance of not tampering with energy supply for everybody to enjoy the benefit of power supply”.
On plan to sack over 120 PHED staff, Dr Ajagbawa said: “I have no plan whatsoever to sign any sack letter. We are not retrenching; I am at a total shock to hear such from the union. We have not sacked, no retrenched and absolutely no plan to retrench.