We lost N30bn to energy theft, others monthly -DISCOs lament

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By Collins Echidime
ABUJA: Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, said they suffered losses to the tune of over N30 billion of their monthly revenue due to cases of energy theft, meter bypass, vandalism, and unpaid electricity bills by consumers.

The companies, which disclosed this in a statement through their umbrella body, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, over 40 percent of electricity consumers do not pay their electricity bills while indulging in illegal connection of electricity.

According to ANED’s Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Barrister Sunday Oduntan, blamed the sharp practices for DISCOs’ Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection, ATC&C, losses.The DISCOs operators, who were present at the recent public hearing in Abuja by the Senate Committee on Power, said these challenges form the major part of the DISCOs’ Aggregate Technical, Commercial, and Collection, ATC&C, losses, as they called for effective legislation against energy theft to safeguard revenues and improve performance in the power sector.

“There is a need for effective legislation by the National Assembly to checkmate energy theft in the country as the practice is costing the power sector billions of Naira monthly. The power sector is currently grappling with a liquidity shortfall of over N1.5tn occasioned by a combination of adverse conditions among which is the high rate of energy theft.

“Recently, one of our members had to publicly declare how much they are losing monthly from energy theft. They lose N3bn monthly. That is a lot of money and this is from people who illegally bypass their connections, those who take energy from the grid without paying as well as those who engage in acts of vandalism.”

In a presentation by the Discos during a Senate Public Hearing earlier this week, the DISCOs showed an instance where out of N27.7bn only that was billed for energy consumed in 2019 by unmetered customers, only N5.2bn was recovered.

He said, “On average, each DISCOs loses about N3 billion every month on these challenges and for the 10 DISCOs who are our members, the monthly losses are over N30bn.

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