Metre bypass: FG moves to criminalise energy theft 

The federal government has expressed concern over reported high rate of energy theft in the country, and noted that it would soon sponsor bills criminalising the scourge.

Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo,  who gave the hint maintained that the proposed power theft bill would be sponsored at the National and State Houses of Assembly respectively.

He disclosed this on Thursday night during a meeting with the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) at the company’s headquarters in Benin City, Edo state. 

Officials of Transmission Commission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and generating companies attended the meeting.

Adelabu stated that the visit was geared to familiarise with stakeholders in the power sector and operators of the value chain.

Continuing, the minister gave the DisCos nod to publish the names of indebted customers, noting that “Mr. President will not pick offence.”

Adelabu, who maintained that he would not stop the DisCo from disconnecting individuals or organisations, said the publication of debtors’ names would ensure that the company remains in business.

He said the Bola Tinubu-led government was in a hurry to provide good governance through its Renewed Hope Agenda.

The minister advocated that most federal government projects that are either abandoned or ongoing should be completed substantially before embarking on fresh ones in order to avoid unnecessary waste of resources.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of BEDC, Mr. Deolu Ijose, lauded the minister for the visit and the move to criminalise energy theft.

Ijiose said the DisCo loses revenue through bypass of its meters by customers, adding that “in every 10 meters installed, 6 to 7 of the meters would be bypassed within 25 hours.”

He however stated that the company had made tremendous progress in reconnecting communities to light and constructed a lot of feeders in its franchise states; Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti.