The Aba Power Limited (APL), a subsidiary of Geometric Power has cried out that it has been losing over N100 million monthly to 14 communities in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State due to illegal connections and outright energy theft by some members of the communities.
Managing Director of APL, Mr. Patrick Umeh, disclosed this yesterday, in a statement he issued in response to claims in a section of the media by some unnamed persons from the communities that they had been cut off from power supply since last weekend.
APL provides electric power to nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State.
Umeh 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 local governments, which amounts to about N100m monthly.”
According to him, the electricity distribution company had 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, adding that the APL was also mindful, “of the fact that these communities during the years when EEDC was the distribution company in the area made commendable efforts to provide distribution transformers to serve their communities.”
He 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.
Umeh, therefore, 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 area was serviced by a former distribution company for the area.
“All customers and stakeholders are encouraged to partner with APL, 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.”
He, however, 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.”
Umeh also disclosed that many individuals 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.”
He assured the communities that the APL 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.