Management of the Benin Electricity Development Company (BEDC) Plc has bemoaned the rising cases of vandalism and energy theft in Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo states.
It lamented that vandalism of electricity distribution network and other forms of electrical theft were serious threats to power sector sustainability and economic growth, adding that the development had led to power outage in the states.
Head, Corporate Affairs of BEDC, Adekunle Tayo, raised the alarm in a statement he issued in Benin City, Edo State, urging members of the public to protect electricity infrastructure in their communities.
Adekunle, who canvassed enforcement of tougher laws to protect public property, especially electricity infrastructure, appealed to members of the public to be vigilant and security conscious as well as report activities of vandals, describing the act as an economic crime and act of sabotage.
He lamented that the power sector had been most hit in the most devastating manner and the effect of vandalism could not be overemphasised, as residential customers, industries, small and medium scale businesses were being starved of power due to activities of vandals.
“The recent surge in cases of vandalism calls for greater attention. More worrisome is the fact that these miscreants are continuously innovating new ideas to perpetrate their criminal activities.
“We see the recent vandalism of 14 spans of electricity conductors in Ilu-Titun, Ondo State, on a line currently being rehabilitated by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), as very disturbing.
“More disturbing is the fact that Okitipupa Town was recently thrown into total blackout as a result of the vandalism of 20 spans of electricity conductors between Ode-Aye and Okitipupa,” the statement reads.
He, however, said the BEDC was not relenting in its quest to overcome the activities of vandals, adding that efforts at curbing the menace of vandalism on its network had received a boost with the recent conviction of one David James to three years imprisonment by a Benin Magistrate Court 6 in Egor Council of Edo State.