The Enugu energy Distribution Company, EEDC, has urged the National Assembly to pass laws imposing harsh penalties for power theft and vandalism of energy equipment.
According to the EEDC, this would help to strengthen the electricity sector in order to satisfy rising demand across the country.
Mr. Emeka Eze, EEDC’s Head of Corporate Communications, made the announcement in an exclusive interview with Voice of Nigeria in Enugu.
In addition to appropriate laws, he also urged the Federal Government to explore a possibility of providing funding avenues to support the growth of the power sector, noting that previous administrations failed to pay a stipulated counterpart fund to the sector, as agreed some years ago.
Mr Eze lamented the poor payment of electricity bills by consumers, which has stunted the growth and development of power supply in its coverage areas.
He stated that customers’ unwillingness to pay their electricity bills has significantly impacted the Company’s domestically produced earnings, while the power generation and distribution company has also suffered.
Mr. Eze strongly denounced the recent outbreak of unauthorized connections and power bypasses of the Company’s lines feeding private offices and homes inside the coverage zones by unscrupulous members of the public.
Eze, therefore, enjoined the public to always report cases of illegal and fraudulent connections to the appropriate authorities and threatened that henceforth, it will no longer be business as usual.
“It is not enough to say that any person who is caught in the act of power bypass should be compelled to pay fifty thousand naira. This is a very serious offense and the punishment should be more decisive. I mean, the perpetrators should always be made to face the full weight of the law, to serve as deterent to others,” he emphasised.
He also condemned the incessant cases of molestation and attacks on EEDC’s marketers in the field by customers.
According to him, “we have severally received this reports and it is not in the best interest of this company. We have also issued warnings to customers in those areas and for some time now, we’ve not received such reports.”