It is now a crime in Ekiti State for anybody to perpetrate theft and wishful vandalism of electricity equipment and installation.
A law, ‘Ekiti State Electricity Regulatory Act 2015, Vandals and Theft of Electricity Equipment’, has spelt out two years imprisonment, with an option of N10 million fine for anybody who falls foul of the law.
The law also mandates the establishment of electricity committees in all the communities in the state to monitor suspicious activities on any electricity installation or equipment and report to distribution companies.
Inaugurating the Act at a function attended by stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, stated that the Act was enacted to protect both the suppliers and consumers of electricity.
As Fayemi explained, the regulation was made to protect suppliers and users of electricity.
“If you tamper with your meters or do anything untoward to the transformers, you are liable.
“Even the electricity company, I mean the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) should not default in electricity supply, because that also carries a penalty,” he said.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BEDC, Mrs Funke Osibodu, who commended the state government for enacting the law, saying it would help in boosting power supply to Ekiti, revealed that distribution companies lose about N30 billion daily due to the activities of vandals and theft.
Osibodu, represented by a member of staff of the company, Barrister Lucky Ayomoto, added that the BEDC, which controls light distribution in Ekiti, Ondo, Delta and Osun states, had taken giant strides in ensuring that the economies of those states were given impetus through improved electricity supplies since assumption.
“The Ekiti State Electricity Regulation Act 2015, therefore, seeks to curb and deter the illegal and unauthorised use of regulated electricity supply, as well as protect electricity infrastructure.
“According to the Nigeria Power Baseline Report of 2015, Nigeria was estimated to have daily technical losses of 12 per cent and non-technical losses of 34 per cent, giving a combined total of 46 per cent in aggregate technical and non-technical losses,” she said.
The BEDC chief added that the company, as part of its responsibilities, had increased power supply to Ado-Ekiti, the capital city, from five hours to nine hours daily, while other towns like Ido,
Otun, Osun, Ira, Igogo and others in Ekiti North now enjoy 18 hours daily supplies.
“Ode Ekiti, in Gbonyin local government, that has been in total darkness has now been reconnected to the national grid, while work is ongoing on Ikogosi, Erinjiyan and Ipole-Iloro electricity.
The chairman of the Ado Ekiti Residents Electricity Consumers Association, Dr Ibukun Ogundipe; the chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju and the Elemure of Emure
Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebayo, said the only problem causing friction between the BEDC and the public in Ekiti had been the under-metering of consumers.