The Abuja electricity distribution company (Disco) which distributes electricity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Nasarawa and parts of Niger states has reported that up to 240,000 people are illegally connected to its network, and consuming electricity unlawfully.
The Disco also disclosed that in nine of the 32 areas of its network, where it has achieved over 80 per cent metering penetration, it found that it loses up to 20 per cent of its revenue from supplies made to the areas, indicating a prevalence of dishonest practices despite the availability of meter.
In a draft of its Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) which was submitted to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY, the Disco stated that it currently has 440,976 prepaid meters in its network.
But, it pointed out that 50 per cent of consumers who owned prepaid meters do not vend or procure units regularly.
“AEDC estimates about 240,000 illegal connections (free riders) in the franchise area. Roughly 40 per cent of this number are documented free riders.
“These customers had sometime in the past applied formally to AEDC for connections but could not be connected due to unavailability of meters and a regulatory provision inhibiting connection of new customers without installing meters.
“These connections have been prioritised under the Meter Asset Provider program for quick metering and regularisation under the MAP program,” said the Disco in the draft PIP.
It further explained that: “The remaining 60 per cent who have connected illegally will be regularised through the unauthorised access to electricity regulation. This initiative is driven by a task force with support from the public through direct solicitation through the various media platforms.”