Electricity Thieves Now To Pay Categorised Reconnection Fees

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By ABAH ADAH, Abuja

Customers who are discovered to have gained unauthorised access to electricity in the country by tampering with or by-passing their meters will now have to pay reconnection costs ranging from N50, 000 to N100, 000 depending on their consumer status.

In an order statement issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja on Thursday, signed by its Vice Chairman, Engr Sanusi Garba, the commission said consequent upon the incessant complaints over electricity theft received from the distribution companies (DisCos), and as part of effort to curtail the act it has approved reconnection costs and and administrative charges to be paid to concerned DisCo by those involve such act before they are reconnected to supply.

“Upon due consideration of the foregoing and the need to reduce unauthorised access to electricity supply by tampering and meter bypass; the Commission pursuant to the powers conferred by EPSRA and Regulation 12 (1) of CDPES hereby approves the following conditions for reconnecting unauthorised connections:

Any customer that gains unauthorised access to electricity by tampering or meter bypass shall be reconnected upon payment of the reconnection costs in the schedule below,” the statement read in part.

According to the schedule, Single Phase Residential/Commercial customers to be reconnected for the first time are to pay a reconnection cost of N50, 000, while those to be reconnected not for the first time stand to pay N75, 000.

Three Phase Residential offenders are to pay N100, 000 and N150, 000 respectively, while Three Phase Commercial pays N100, 000 and N100, 000 respectively.

The initial incident of unauthorised access to electricity by tampering or bypassing an MD meter shall attract a reconnection cost of 300% of the last authorised recorded monthly consumption of the customer. Subsequent incidents of unauthorised access to electricity by tampering or bypassing an MD meter shall attract a reconnection cost of 450% of the last authorised recorded monthly consumption of the customer.

Administrative Charges ranging from N1, 500 to N15, 000 for the various categories also apply.

The order also empowers DisCos to back-bill customers who gain unauthorised access to electricity at the prevailing tariff of the customer for the established period of the unauthorised access.

It also requested that DisCos file reports on all cases of unauthorised access with the Commission on a monthly basis.

On the other hand, the statement maintained that DisCos shall be liable to pay customers delayed reconnection costs for failing to reconnect the customer within 48 hours of the customers’ payment of reconnection costs and administrative charges for unauthorised access to electricity in accordance with Regulation of 11 of CDPES.

DisCos shall also be liable to pay customers delayed reconnection costs where the customer was unjustifiably disconnected ranging from N1, 000 to N2, 000 per day.

The Connection & Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services (“CDPES”) Regulations of 2007 provide for the connection of customers to electricity distribution networks by distribution companies (“DisCos”).

DisCos are authorised to disconnect unauthorised connections to the distribution network without giving any notice in compliance with Regulation 6 (a) of CDPES.