The Federal Government should bring people who perpetrate energy crimes and related offences to book if it is really protecting the interest of consumers in the sector, the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria President, Mrs. Sola Salako-Ajulo, has said.
She urged the government to prosecute such people and jail them to serve as deterrent to others.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, Mrs Salako-Ajulo said the inability of the government to provide mechanisms that would ensure speedy trials of energy criminals is inhibiting the growth in the energy value chain.
She said: “Until we start holding people, especially operators for their actions, theft and other untoward practices in the industry would continue. People must be made to face the consequences of their actions if electricity theft would be honestly checked in the sector. There should be penalties for offences such as meter by-passing, cable theft and others. When this happens, the vices would reduce.
“People at the helm of affairs are fond of giving excuses when somebody does something wrong in the sector. We are fond of providing multiple solutions to problems, which in most cases are ineffective.“
Mrs Salako-Ajulo chided the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for not being alive to its responsibilities, stressing that the Commission has failed to monitor the operation as expected.
According to him, the performance of NERC is tilted towards service providers such as the power generation companies (GenCos), power distribution companies (DisCos), gas providers and other operators, and not the consumers.
The issue, she said, has rendered consumers helpless, as their metering needs are not well attended to by the DisCos.
She said NERC’s Board must include people who understand the industry, noting that incompetent people when appointed to head sensitive offices in the sector perform badly.
On metering, she applauded the government for introducing Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) to solve many of the problems of production and supply of meters in the country.
Mrs Salako-Ajulo said the government would achieve its goal of reducing metering problems in the event that the meter asset providers are well monitored.
She noted that the DisCos had conducted enumeration to determine the number of people that need meters and how they would meet their needs.
SOURCE: THE NATION