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Deploying meter bypass trackers’ll end power theft, grow Discos’ profitability

Beyond issuing an executive order that illegal connection of electricity by way of meter bypass will attract between N45,000 to N500,000, Discos seem to have stepped up their efforts to deny in the first instance chances of bypassing meters by deploying meter bypass tracking equipment in their various networks.

The move to introduce the technology by the power firms was to enforce the recent declaration by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that consumers who bypass meters would pay fines.

It would be recalled that NERC’s financial sanctions ranging from N45,000 to N450,000 for meter bypass by power consumers have been drafted and endorsed by the 11 electricity distribution companies operating in the country.

Even though the NERC’s decision endorsed by the Federal Government through the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola is yet to catch its first casualty, some power distributors had started deploying meter bypass trackers in order to reveal the culprits and have them punished.

This was made public by the Managing Director of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Ernest Mupwaya.

He said “On the issue of meter bypass, I don’t want to share (this), but we do have a technology to detect it. For example, all our large power customers, for the majority of them, we are monitoring them online using automatic meter reading facilities that we have installed.

“And every day, unfortunately, we are seeing meter bypass live and we are taking punitive interventions in terms of revealing them (defaulters) and surcharging them. So, for large power users, the monitoring is online. Let me just categorically say that they should not even attempt, it, because they will be caught.”

Giving more insights over growing complaints about meters that read so fast, Mupwaya stated that the Disco had acquired facilities to address the concern in its areas of operation.

“Some customers complain that their meters are running too fast and as a result, we have got portable meters that can be used for testing when hooked up with existing meters. When this is done, within few minutes we can detect whether our meter is faulty or not.

“That equipment can also be used to make corrections where customers believe estimated billing is high. At such instances, we can put a meter there temporarily and it will give us information that will make us adjust the estimated billing. So it is equipment that can be used for various purposes.”