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‘Special courts should be established’ — Elumelu says power theft setback for DisCos

Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Transcorp Group, says power theft is a setback for distribution companies (DisCos) in the country.

Speaking at the firm’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Abuja on Monday, Elumelu said DisCos also suffer losses due to vandalisation which occur in the process of electricity theft.

He said special courts should be set up to deal with power theft and related cases to curb the problem.

“Stealing of energy has continued to be a big setback and frustrating factor for the DisCos, and by extension, the power sector,” the entrepreneur said.

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“Besides the loss of revenue resulting directly from stolen electricity, DisCos also suffer significant losses and damages due to vandalization of their infrastructure in the course of energy or infrastructure theft.

“While I note the provisions of the Electricity Act 2023 regarding criminal punishment for energy theft, I recommend the establishment of special courts with powers for summary proceedings to exclusively deal with cases of energy theft.

“There should also be a process of naming and shaming convicted energy thieves irrespective of their status in the society.”

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‘TRANSCORP POWER IS OWED N250 BILLION’

Elumelu said the federal government should fully privatise the sector to enhance efficient power delivery.

“As of today, TCN is owned 100% and DisCos are owned 40% by the federal government, who also holds ownership interests in some GenCos,” he said.

“To enable the sector to be efficiently run by the private sector, I recommend that the federal government should come out with a clear timeline for the full privatization of the power sector, starting with the DisCos and Transmission Company of Nigeria.”

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Elumelu also said Transcorp Power is owed N250 billion as of March 2024.

“We need this liquidity, so we can make progress,” he said.

In 2023, according to the group’s chair, Transcorp grew its market capitalisation by 604 percent from N50 billion at the beginning of the year under review to N577 billion at the close of March 2024.

Elumelu said Transcorp’s gross earnings grew by 47 percent from N134 billion reported in 2022 to N197 billion last year.

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He said the company’s profit before tax increased by 94 percent from N30 billion in 2022 to N59 billion in 2023.

Elumelu said shareholders’ funds also grew by 21 percent from N155 billion to N187 billion, driven by retained profit for the period.

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He added that total liabilities increased by 19 percent from N288 billion to N343 billion during the period examined.

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