• January 29, 2024

Electricity Theft… Energy Minister takes tough Measures

Electricity Theft…  Energy Minister takes tough Measures
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With the alarming rates of theft power from the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority is becoming unbearable; the line Ministry of Energy has declared an all-out war on detractors including power thieves.

The untraditional approaches set to be employed by the ministry was Monday unveiled by the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Dr Kanja Sesay during a news conference hosted at the ministry’s boardroom, Electricity House, Siaka Stevens Street Freetown. Dr Alhaji Sesay disclosed that his ministry along with EDSA with support from the Presidential Task Force on Energy have taken several approaches that were geared towards mitigating electricity and power theft in the country that didn’t work as the loses are yet to be addressed. He described such loses as commercial loses and defined the destruction and stealing of copper wires and transformer parts as well as poles as technical loses.

 

Alhaji Dr Kanja Sesay informed that the media is fully aware of challenges faced by his ministry and the line agency EDSA, reiterating that they have been if the field on several occasions and found out that were electricity and power thefts everywhere. He added that along with the joint force presidential taskforce they were able to make some arrests and handed them over to the Criminal Investigations Department who later charged them to court but we don’t have power the court does, adding that a special court was also established for the prosecution of electricity and power thieves. Yet the crime didn’t stop.

 

‘We invited you to express our frustration to you about power thefts. We are always finding it difficult to buy electricity. And if we generate revenue we cannot buy power. So we are going to start naming and shaming power and electricity thieves. Although defaulters have fined by the court, the Ministry of Energy is sets to reintroduce some surprise factors in the upcoming approaches.

 

The Energy Minister furthered that some factories and industries with the habits of electricity thievery are also going to be named and shamed when once apprehended during the operation, and encouraged all to be watchful of people in the culture of power thefts in their respective neighbourhoods, as certain people always impersonate to be EDSA staff while they are not.

 

We are going to embark on mass disconnections, he charged; we are going to be more aggressive than before…, and blamed certain members of the Presidential Taskforce who connived with EDSA staff and compromised the objectives of the last operation. He said that they were reported to the respective heads of the security sector, while EDSA staffers were fired without end of service benefits.

 

Responding to questions posed to him and the panel by journalists regarding high tariff resulting to electricity thefts, Alhaji Dr Kanji Sesay replied that; ‘The highest of tariff is not enough for the sector to buy power that is why government pays huge amount of subsides’.

 

The Energy Minister entreated Ministries Department and Agency debtors to honour their respective obligations with the EDSA to enable the authority meet its legitimate mandates to consumers across the board.

 

A public notice issued Thursday 18 January 2024 by the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority EDSA reminded the public that any form of electricity interference leading to abstraction and non-payment of electricity bills is a violation of the National Electricity Act of 2011. The National Electricity Act of 2011 states that “any’ person who prevents any meter or installation from duly recording the output or consumption of electricity commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not less than Fifty Thousand New Leones (NLe 50,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both fine and imprisonment”.

 

The notice informed that illegal abstraction of electricity continues to be a menace that negatively impacts the Authority’s ability to provide reliable and sustainable power to its valued customers. To combat this menace, the EDSA will continue its nationwide routine exercise of monitoring and inspection of premises and business houses with the aim of checking the appropriateness of the electricity installations.

 

It furthered that customers caught and proven to be guilty of illegal abstractions or stealing electricity will be immediately disconnected, exposed, and treated as prescribed by the law (the National Electricity Act of 2011 stated above).

 

EDSA therefore cautions its valued customers to refrain illegal abstraction or electricity thefts with immediate effect and report all suspected cases of illegal abstractions or electricity theft to EDSA (672 or 079-695104) or the nearest police station. The non-traditional power-electricity inspections and monitoring is expected to start at any moment from now.

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