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The management of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), on Sunday, decried the raising spate of outright energy theft and meter bypass within the South-East.

“This development has consistently impacted negatively on the revenue of the company and ultimately impacted its ability to meet up with its obligations to market operators,” the Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, said in a statement.

Ezeh said this in Enugu while he recounted the recent apprehension of one of the company’s maximum demand customers (high energy consuming customers) by the company’s task force team, for involving in meter bypass.

He said the customer totally bypassed the meter installed in his facility and directly connected the armoured cables from the mains to the factory, a situation that kept the meter idle while the customer was busy consuming energy.

“It was gathered that the customer, now a third time offender in meter bypass, is in the habit of downing tools during the day (giving the impression of low business activity) only to resume full operations at night when EEDC officials must have all closed for the day.

“Luck, however, ran out on them when they were busted and caught in the act by the task force,” he said.

Ezeh lamented at the increasing rate at which the company’s high energy consuming customers are engaging in the act of sabotage, stressing that there was a need to nip this in the board.

“One of our customers based at Ikenegbu Extension, Owerri, has been apprehended the fourth time for engaging in meter tampering and illegal reconnection.

“Another one located at Emene Industrial Layout in Enugu has been caught thrice for engaging in meter tampering and insertion of resistors on all the phases behind the meter board.

“If this growing trend is not abated, the sector will continue to feel the negative impact of these infractions,” the EEDC spokesman said.

Ezeh said that in a related development at Woliwo area of Onitsha, Anambra, a prepaid meter connected to a residential building was bypassed.

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“When discovered by the team of task force, one of the occupants of the building resisted the team from disconnecting the building; thus, threatening them with cutlass. It took the intervention of police to carry out the disconnection,” he said.

Ezeh noted that meter bypass accounts for the huge losses recorded by the distribution companies and this largely impacts negatively on the growth of the power sector.

“The company has been investing in its network infrastructure and working assiduously to consistently improve its operations to deliver quality service to its customers, but this cannot be sustained if customers continue to sabotage these efforts,” he said.

Ezeh appealed to those customers engaging any of these evil acts to desist from such acts, adding that the task force would continue to be on the lookout for offenders and when caught appropriate sanctions would be applied.

“Customers are also encouraged to report anyone engaging in such act through the established whistle blowing platforms: 08146026678, 084 700 110 and [email protected],” he added. (NAN)