Richard Ginika Izuora
Illegal connections and outright energy theft has been identified as major causes of revenue loss to Aba Power Limited.
The firm, a subsidiary of Geometric Power is estimated to be losing over N100 million monthly to 14 communities in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State due to illegal connections and other third party infractions.
Aba Power plant provides electric power to nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State.
Managing Director, Aba Power, Patrick Umeh, made this known in a response to claims by some unnamed persons from the areas that they have been cut off from power supply since last weekend.
He said: “It is unfair that these persons have failed to honour the invitation from Aba Power Limited to visit our office to agree on how to end the pervasive energy theft in their LGA which amounts to about N100 million monthly”
According to Umeh, the electricity distribution company has gone out of its way to ensure that the communities receive at least 20 hours of quality power daily in recognition of the fact that some manufacturing companies are located there and “also of the fact that these communities during the years when EEDC was the responsible distribution company in the area made commendable efforts to provide distribution transformers to serve their communities.”.
Umeh noted that leading manufacturing and multinational companies in the area producing noodles, refined vegetable oil, and plastics products require reliable power for extended periods to maintain consistency in product and quality control.
He argued that “it is not right for leaders of these communities to refuse to pay for electric power supplied and consumed on grounds of contributing transformers in the past when the areas was serviced by a former distribution company for the area.
Umeh expressed his company’s willingness to reconnect the affected communities “even this very minute if their representatives pledge to end the humungous energy theft.
“What we desire is to see all the factories, offices and homes in our distribution franchise area receive power for 24 hours daily, and not 20 just hours daily.
“This goal is achievable with the signing of an interim power purchase agreement with a reputable generator, while Geometric Power’s generation company is nearing completion, and also the arrival of the international electricity management company to help the company implement best practices to international standard.
“We need all customers to pay their bills, protect the distribution assets, and be proactive in discouraging the practice of energy theft by some members of their communities”.
The electricity expert disclosed that many people in the 14 communities have been asking for their own individual meters so that they “will be paying promptly to Aba Power rather than continue with the current practice of each of the communities having just one meter known as a bulk meter.
“This bulk metering practice enables an entire community to pay their bill as just one customer or one person, thereby denying those who want to pay as and when due the opportunity to do so and continue to enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply”.
Umeh assured the people that Aba Power Ltd is working with multiple syndicates of meter providers and financiers to procure large quantities of meters for distribution and installation in the Aba ringed fence area.
The preliminary condition assessments and mapping for metering has commenced and is expected to be completed within a few weeks.
The MD said: “All customers and stakeholders are encouraged to partner with Aba Power, and report incidents of energy theft in any form to reduce losses and enhance the company’s ability to focus on rehabilitation of abandoned and obsolete distribution infrastructure it inherited from a former distribution company in the area”