The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has called on the Federal Government to extend its ‘whistleblowing’ policy to the power sector to curb energy theft.
Fashola made the appeal in Enugu at the 16th Power sector monthly meeting, sponsored by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
He said that available statistics revealed huge energy theft by Nigerians, adding that the problem had become a big challenge for not just the power distribution companies, but consumers as well.
According to him, if nothing is done, those who pay for energy consumption will continue to bear the overall cost.
The minister said that statistics revealed that only six million households consumed energy in the country, adding “if this is correct, it means that some people steal energy in the country, while only a few pay.
“The statistics cannot be correct and it is therefore necessary to extend whistleblowing to the power sector in order to expose those stealing our energy,” he said.
Fashola said that when all households who used energy were not captured, the ones captured were bound to pay more tariffs.
He called on Nigerians to be vigilant and report those who stole energy in their neighbourhood to law enforcement agencies.
He said that government was not pleased with most power distribution companies, whom he said, were far from attaining the mandate given to them since the privatisation of the sector.
The minister direct the distribution companies to call their staff to order, saying “they are giving their customers hard times through indiscriminate disconnections.
He said that efforts to improve power supply across the country were on course, adding that more megawatts of electricity would be added to the national grid before the end of the year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting ended with a communiqué urging members of the public to discharge their responsibilities of paying for energy costs.
The communiqué also appealed to state government to appoint energy advisers to ensure understanding of the power sector, before formulating policies.
It also reiterated that the Power Sector Recovery Programme was developed to address the importance of unity and common purpose in making significant impact in the sector.
It stated that progress on incremental power was being made, and that the damaged transformers at Afam IV Power Station had been repaired and gas supply would start soon to provide additional 100mw of power.
NAN reports that officials of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Council, representatives of power generating and distribution companies and the Transmission Company of Nigeria, as well as other stakeholders, were in attendance