Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) Plc, has estimated that it loses about N2.6 billion monthly to electricity theft in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States.
Head, Corporate Communications, PHEDC, John Anonyai, said in Port Harcourt that the firm has arrested an electrician who helps some of its clients in carrying out the act of meter bypass.
Anonyai maintained that PHEDC had declared zero tolerance to electricity theft, vandalization and bribery, adding that anyone arrested would be prosecuted.
According to him, sadly, energy theft, meter bypass and vandalism have been an endemic problem for the organization; impacting seriously on the revenue of PHED with a colossal loss of about N2.5bn monthly.
“It would be recalled that on different fora, the MD/CEO, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, has affirmed his resolve to institutionalize and trigger the company’s zero tolerance policy on bribery, vandalism and corruption against any individual culpable regardless of their status in the society.”
Anonyai expresses regrets that a business conglomerate in Rivers State was in the act of meter bypass, adding that the suspect had upon discovery intended to bribe the PHED officials with a mouth watering sum.
“In recent times, PHED has intensified its campaign on meter bypass, energy theft and vandalism to dissuade people from such acts identified as existential threats capable of grounding their operations.
“Upon discovery of the meter bypass, it was obtained that the proprietress contacted the electrician who buried the service cables underground spanning to the corridor of the premises where she operates a giant cold room to quickly excavate the cables and rearrange the connections to appear like it was never tampered.
“The proprietress who became destabilized, made a bribery advance of one million(N1m) to PHED official in an attempt to stop the escalation of the meter bypass offence. This was foiled as the company’s goal of zero tolerance to corruption is highly entrenched by staff.”
He warned customers to desist from energy theft, meter bypass and vandalism, noting that anyone arrested on any of the offences would be prosecuted.