THE greatest threat to private investors and the reform in the power sector is energy theft by consumers, a Director in Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), George Etomi, has said.
He lamented that almost every consumer, including the elite who consume energy without paying the bills by by-passing electricity meters, are involved in energy theft.
“You see the meters rolling, but they are not recording. People just consume and don’t pay,” he lamented.
Etomi said there are people whose consumption is tied to other people’s meters. “There are some people whose meters we don’t even have access to. The prepaid meter is one of the most by-passed meters,” he said, adding that some people have between 10 and 20 air-conditioners in their houses but have single phase meter and then somehow pass their bill to somebody else.
The EKEDC director, however, said the company is using technology to overcome the challenge of electricity theft. He said the company is currently working on a programme to replace the pre-paid meters, which are easily compromised, with smart meters, and that under the programme customers with pre-paid meters would eventually get smart meters.
“The smart meter will be located away from your house; what you have in your house is a dummy, like a counter. And what we are seeing, you too are seeing. They are in clusters; even if you manage to get there, you don’t even know which is yours,” he explained, adding that with prepaid meters, consumers and service providers would no longer be cheated.