Electricity fraud causes the sector and the country to lose more than 60 billion CFA francs each year
The level of losses generated by illegal activities is very high, and contributes to the financial suffocation of the entire electricity sector.
"Fighting fraud is a matter of survival for the electricity sector", Director General of the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL), Jean Pascal NKOU, declared on CRTV television on 20 July 2020.
The inevitable clean-up and normalization of distribution and commercial facilities is a process with manifold challenges:
The safety of the network, installations and people, customers, and even those reckless individuals who die while fiddling with the electricity facilities.
Customer comfort: eliminating pockets of voltage drop, improving energy quality to enable customers to enjoy their household or industrial equipment. Fraud leads to more load shedding of entire neighborhoods, instead of disconnections of defaulter isolated customers. Load shedding could, in some cases, cause social upheavals.
Consumer empowerment: Electricity theft is a waste of the country's resources. People tend to consume a lot more when they know they are not paying for it. And this generates a deficit of electricity for vital needs.
Social justice: 70% of honest customers suffer 30% of dishonest customers or consumers.
Sanctions for the abusers: To aspire to becoming a model of governance, Cameroon must fight against electricity fraud, and penalise the perpetrators at all levels of the chain. Electricity fraud comes from both internal and external sources. In the last 12 months, for example, about 60 fraud barons have been put at the disposal of the judiciary; a baron being an actor who illegally maintains an electricity network of up to a hundred households. More than ten Eneo workers have been dismissed for connivance with unscrupulous networks.
Losses reduction in the sector: In utility terminology, performance is measured by Distribution Efficiency. Today, the sector is losing several dozen of Efficiency points in this scourge. Cash losses on the entire electricity system represent more than 60 billion CFA francs per year. This is way beyond Eneo's investment budget for 2020 (45.7 billion), covering needs in production, distribution, commercial, and others. It is also the equivalent of at least two 25 megawatts solar power plants, or the connection to the electricity grid of several hundred of localities, or even more than 1,800,000 new prepaid meters, etc. To enable the electricity sector as a whole to regain its stability, these normalization operations are a critical lever. An emergency.
The fight against fraud is vital. Fraud is costly, and seriously damages the reputation and profitability of the entire electricity sector. It is, therefore, a serious threat to the achievement of the country's economic and social development objectives.
Eneo Cameroon is committed, with the full support of the government, to intensify the fight against fraud on the electricity network. The company is working with the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy, the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency, and other stakeholders to ensure that this fight is implemented in accordance with user rights and service regulations.