By Yunus Yusuf
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDC) says it will soon begin demolition of all illegal constructions under its right of way.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, made this known on Thursday at a Customers’ Consultative Town Hall Meeting with Apapa electricity customers in Lagos.
Fadeyibi, also advised electricity customers to desist from illegal connection or face grave consequences.
He said that the Town Hall meeting became imperative to rub minds with the customers within its network on the challenges facing the company.
Fadeyibi decried the high rate of energy theft and illegal constructions along the company’s right of way by customers within the network.
The EKEDC chief executive officer said that the measure became necessary against the backdrop of billions of naira being lost to various forms of energy theft and vandalism in the zone.
He warned: “Any act of infraction will be met with a stiff penalty. Enough is enough; Eko Disco will no longer tolerate this act of illegal tampering of our equipment and electrical installations.
“Tampering with Eko Disco meters, installations, distribution lines, equipment or assault on any field worker will attract a jail term.
“The management of EKEDC will no longer handle these actions with kid gloves; this is no empty threat. If you disregard this warning, you do so at your own risk,” he said.
The EKEDC chief said it cost the company a huge amount to replace the vandalised equipment and meters damaged by customers in a bid to bypass.
Fadeyibi also said the company would henceforth commence effective prosecution of energy theft suspects, and publish their names in the national dailies.
“We appeal to our customers to avoid engaging in bypassing of meters because it is criminal and punishable under the Electricity Regulation Code of Conduct Act.
“l advise our customers to exercise a little patience with EKEDC, as we promise to address all issues regarding billings, metering and other challenges,” he said.
The chief executive officer said that the newly introduced Metering Assets Providers (MAP) by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would address the metering challenges when it finally kicks off.
He said that company had completed all the processes regarding MAP, adding that it was working on finalising enumeration.
“We are ready from our own end, but expecting the regulator to give the go-ahead,’’ Fadeyibi said.
He said that the company was expected to commence effective metering of its customers under the MAP arrangement this month, once the regulator gives its go-ahead.
Fadeyibi also said the company would commence the cashless payment of electricity bills in April.
According to him, Eko staff will no longer be handling cash any more, meaning that customers are expected to pay their bills through banks and accredited agents.
“We urge customers to embrace the modern electronic payment for electricity consumption, as we works toward eliminating cash payment.
“The effort is to reduce payment queues at some of the EKEDC offices and embracing electronic payment options that will make customers enjoy conveniences,’’ he said.
Fadeyibi explained that the new payment options were designed to offer all customers security, greater convenience and choice, and also intended to make the payment process more efficient.
The Area Commander Area ‘B’, ACP Mohammed Adamu, commended the company for the appreciable improvement in power supply in Apapa axis.
Adamu warned electricity consumers to desist from attacking EKEDC’s officials.
He urged consumers to use dialogue in addressing the disputes instead of engaging in violence and attack of officials in the course of doing their official duty. (NAN)