Meter Bypass: FG Plans Electricity Offences Tribunal

by Ohepo Ohepo

Abuja, Nigeria – The Federal Government is set to establish an electricity offences tribunal aimed at addressing power theft across the country. This initiative, disclosed by Aliyu Tahir, Managing Director of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), is designed to expedite the prosecution of electricity-related offences.

During a briefing in Abuja, Tahir explained that the tribunal, equipped with an in-built appeal system, would significantly streamline the enforcement and sanctioning process for power sector violations. “We are working on the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal to fast-track the prosecution of offenders and enforce our mandates more effectively,” he stated.

Tahir highlighted that the current process for sanctioning violators under the Electricity Act is prolonged and inefficient. The proposed tribunal aims to address this by ensuring quicker trials and prosecutions, thereby enhancing compliance and reducing electricity theft.

NEMSA is actively engaging with the National Assembly to amend the Electricity Act to include provisions for the tribunal. “The establishment of this tribunal has been brought to the knowledge of the legislature, and we’ve made submissions to them. Our hope is that they will amend the Electricity Act to include a provision for this,” Tahir said.

The agency has been working diligently to enforce its mandate, which includes the inspection, testing, and certification of electricity installation projects and meters. According to Tahir, NEMSA has tested and calibrated over 2.6 million meters, ensuring their functionality, durability, and safety. Additionally, the agency has inspected and certified thousands of electricity installation projects and networks across the country.

As of the first quarter of 2024, NEMSA reported that it had inspected and tested 21,681 electricity installation projects, certifying 13,154 of them. The agency also monitored 16,624 electricity networks and inspected 4,921 factories, hazardous installations, and public places, certifying them as safe. Furthermore, NEMSA investigated 487 incidents related to electricity installations.

The proposed electricity offences tribunal is expected to bolster NEMSA’s efforts to combat power theft and enhance the overall efficiency and safety of Nigeria’s power sector.

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