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Energy Theft: IBEDC reads riot act to customers

.As NERC opens Osogbo Customers Complaints Forum Office

Niyi Akande, Osogbo.

The Chief Operating Officer of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC),  Mr. John Ayodele, has said that the company would take drastic action against any customer that engage in unauthorized access to electricity, tampering, and by-passing of meters.  

Ayodele said activities of some customers that are engaging in stealing of energy constitute hinderance to efforts of the company to make safe power available to the end users in its areas of operation.

IBEDC COO, who spoke in Osogbo during the inauguration of Customer Compliants Forum Office in Osogbo, Osun state by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), also warned that any customers who gain unauthorized access to electricity through by-passing meter, shall only be reconnected after paying administrative  charges for loss of revenue.

He pleaded with stakeholders not to take laws into their hands, by being hostile to staffers of their electricity provider and desist from illegal connections, as well as, vandalism of electricity installations. 

In his address at the occasion, the Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr.  Moses Arigu, explained that Osogbo Customer Complaints Forum office is one of the 28 operational offices in the country.

He added that the offices were set up to promote the interest of the electricity customers and enhance a better relationship with the operators. 

Arigu said Osogbo's customer complaints  Forum Office would address needs and challenges of residents in the state as regards complaints emanating from electricity supply in the state.

He posited that complaints from electricity
customers over the quality of service received from Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), their service provider would henceforth be resolved more speedily with the Complaints Forum in place.

Arigu further tressed that, within the period  of January  to September, 2018 IBEDC recorded a significant number of unresolved  complaints out of which 1,275 were from customers within Osogbo and its environs. 

According to him, majority of the complaints were on voltage and billing issues.

He said: "The commission notes the recurring compliants on estimated billing which is mainly due to the low metering status in the sector. 

"It is for this purpose that the commission has introduce measures to accelerate metering through the Meter Asset Provider Regulation of 2018 and very close monitoring of Electricity  Distribution Companies meter roll out plan. 

"The present metering gap in Ibadan Disco alone is about a million when compared to its total customer size of over 1.6million customers, representing a 60% deficit in metering. 

The Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in his goodwill message, explained that his administration has been investing heavily in the electricity industry as parts of efforts of to bring government nearer to the people and also to make living more pleasant for the citizenry.

Aregbesola who was represented by the state's Commissioner of Works, Hon. Kazeem Salami, however lamented the challenge of vandalism, which he claimed has hindered rural electrification initiatives of his administration.

He said: "the efforts of this government to make the rural dwellers to be connected to the national grid has been enormous, but vandals have made it impossible for the rural areas to have even development. 

"The distribution company is not making available meters for the consumers. This has made the citizenry to pay exorbitantly for energy consumed with estimated bill.

He pleaded with NERC representative to continue to look for ways to foster mutual understanding  with the electricity consumers in the state.

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