The Distribution Companies of Nigeria (Discos)have been given an expanded powers to disconnect any customer arrested for power theft in addition to criminal prosecution against the offender.
Speaking after the monthly meeting in Abuja recently, Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, said the decision became necessary because the situation was not only denying the Discos the much needed revenues, it also deny other customers of adequate power supplies.
He said power theft and vandalism of electricity assets would be handled with all the weights of the law, saying the sector would no longer tolerate these acts.
“There is rampant theft of electricity, and we have said that the discos should aggressively monitor and apprehend any customer who tampers with power, and anyone who steals energy at this crucial moment will face the full weight of criminal and civil sanctions.
“They will be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law. As a regulator, we will authorise the Discos to disconnect them and we will put very punitive sanctions so that to reconnect them, they will have to pay about 50 per cent more than they stole from the network.
“We want to urge the citizens and consumers not to steal power. This damages the revenue of Discos and ultimately put the nation into more darkness,” he said.
Also acknowledging the allegation of arbitrary billing of the customers against the Discos, he said the acts must stop forthwith.
He further emphasised that it was the responsibility of the Discos to provide customers with pre-paid meters (PPMs).