NERC as upped the penalties for electricity theft, much to the delight of DisCos all over. As contained in the minutes of the 17th power sector stakeholders’ meeting held in Jos, Plateau State, operators had pressed for an increase in the amount paid as fines to discourage unscrupulous electricity consumers from defrauding distribution companies.
The Jos Disco had reported during the meeting of an increase in theft of electricity by consumers and that through the assistance of the Department of State Services and other security agencies, some consumers had been apprehended and made to pay the penalty.
The minutes stated that the official “appealed that the penalty be increased to N200,000 to curb the menace of energy theft and noted that plans were underway to extend the initiative to other states within its franchise area.”
“NERC agreed that the N50,000 penalty was not enough and promised to look into the matter and report back in the coming week,” the document stated.
In recent times DisCos have bemoaned the effect of electricity theft on the power sector and NERc has now stepped in to further effect even stiffer penalties on culprits.
A senior official of NERC also reportedly told participants at the gathering that the indebtedness of discos and network capacity issues were some of the reasons the power distributors often rejected electricity load allocated to them.
The document stated that the official “highlighted factors that affect the discos’ ability to off-take more load.”
The NERC had observed that the indebtedness of discos was a major reason they often reject part of electricity allocated to them by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
According to NERC, most Discos were heavily indebted to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc, a development that has adversely affected the sector.