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The Federal Government has decried the rate of electricity theft in the country, describing, it as a major impediment to the growth of the energy sector.
Speaking in Kano at the inauguration of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offenses (SIPTCO) for Kano Electricity Zone, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said that electricity theft has gone on for long in Nigeria while expressing optimism that the menace would soon be addressed
The Managing Director of KEDCO, Dr. Jamil Gwamna, said that energy theft represented a huge problem in the electricity industry while calling for stiffer punishment for offenders of energy laws.
In his view, punishment should equal the offense committed if it is to serve as a deterrent.
Electricity theft cost more than 260 million euros a year to consumers and continues to rise, Greece's power distribution agency DEDDIE said in a report on Wednesday.
Based on the report, electricity theft soared from 0.2 pct of distributed electricity power in 2003-2004, to 1.1 pct in 2011-2012 and to 4.2 pct in 2016, quadrupling in five years.
The introduction of stricter controls helped to slightly reduce electricity theft in 2017 (3.9 pct), but it resurged to 4.1 pct in 2018.
This represents an amount of electric power worth 260 million euros.
Electricity theft, meter-tampering and non-payment of bills by customers have been the bane of power utilities in the domain of ‘non-technical losses’. The recent late-night clampdown on the Panipat Thermal Power Station residential complex in which seven senior officials were among those caught pilfering power from streetlights underscores the shameful practice and busts the perception that theft by kundi connections is generally resorted to by consumers of congested colonies that present a shocking picture of overhead tangles of wires, leading from electricity poles to homes. Periodic raids point to the fact that such stealth is widely prevalent. Nearly one-third of the 450 chambers of the Sonepat District Courts Complex inspected by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam in November were found to have illegal connections...A report published in 2018 revealed that the Indian power sector loses around $16.2 billion to theft every year.
According to the state utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the largest buyer of natural gas for electricity, more than 59 billion pesos ($3 billion) of electricity were lost to theft from June 2018 to June 2019. The company reported last month that it loses around 17,000 pesos, or $860/minute as a result of electricity theft and that it detected nearly 70,000 illegal taps in homes and businesses across the country through the first five months of 2019.
The company registered as many as 133,000 cases of electricity theft in Mexico in 2016, up from 13,000 in 2013.
Bartlett said wealth disparities in Mexico are a main driver to electricity theft. While he expressed sympathy for those in “desperate and difficult situations,” a goal of this administration and the CFE is to identify and seek reimbursement from residents and businesses that steal electricity.
“We don’t know where it all goes, but we do know the majority goes to growing marijuana.” And the thieves are not amateurs. “They tap into 12 kV or 25 kV lines. These people have utility lineman experience.” They also have a great deal of ingenuity. “We’ve seen where they hollowed out the utility poles, tapped into the power line, and then ran underground to their operation. They even put in their own transformers."