Chineme Okafor and Peace Ewere in Abuja
Electricity distribution companies (Discos) have indicated they would be deploying a new online security programme called ‘Hawk Eye’ to monitor electricity theft and equipment vandalism in the country’s electricity distribution networks.
Developed by a Lagos-based technology firm, Web Assets Nigeria Ltd, the mobile application according to its developer could help Discos overcome the high rates of infrastructure vandalism, as well as theft of electricity and equipment in their networks.
It was launched recently in Abuja, and would be expected to run on the platforms of Abuja and Eko Discos first before its potential massive deployment to other Discos.
The Chairman of Web Assets Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Kayode Aladesuyi stated at the launch of the application, that Discos could reduce incidences of revenue losses due to power theft at their networks when they deploy it to their monitoring frameworks
Adesuyi stated that other Discos have equally showed interest in deploying the application to their networks but wanted the pilot to take off before they come on board.
According to him, electricity users would also be able to report power theft and vandalism around them by capturing images and recording video of such acts in real-time through the security app.
He noted that electricity users would equally use the app to file service complaints such as billing errors, outages, and other service complaints to their Discos.
According to him, other sectors of the country’s economy like the security formation can benefit from the application which he added was designed to complement existing security structures in the country.
“We are excited to launch this project with Eko Electricity and Abuja Electricity as part of our beta. The industry needs user support to arrest the issue of power shortage. Close to 30 per cent of power shortage in the country is due to utility theft, vandalism against power infrastructure,” said Adesuyi.
He added: “For most customers complaining about utility rates, they should keep an eagle eye on neighbours illegally tapping into utility poles, this is a chance for each of us to key into the present administration’s change agenda to upturn our security alertness.”
At the launch, the Acting Chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah who was represented by a Deputy General Manager in the Engineering Division of NERC, Mohammed Bello, explained that the commission was part of the development stages of the application.
He added that other electricity related incidences such as electrocution would also be curtailed using the application as Discos are expected to report and publicise o consumers and the public cases of tampered installations through it.
Similarly, the Managing Director of Abuja Disco, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya stated that with the application, the Disco would be able to monitor complaints and dispatch field officers to affected areas fast and with ease.