|Workers inspect safety of electricity network. More than 14,000 cases of electricity theft were reported during the first nine months of the year, resulting in the loss of at least 11 million kWh from the country's electricity network. — Photo baocong thuong.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — More than 14,000 cases of electricity theft were reported during the first nine months of the year, resulting in the loss of at least 11 million kWh from the country's electricity network. The authority also collected over VND60 billion (US$2.7 million) in fines, according to a report by Electricity Viet Nam (EVN).
While the number of cases was lower compared to the same period last year, more sophisticated methods were used in stealing electricity, including the use of powerful magnets to slow down electric counters, tweaking the inside of counters or, in some cases, completely bypassing them by setting up a different line.
In addition, EVN reported thousands of violations of safety perimeters along power lines. In the majority of cases, man-made structures, advertising panels and construction machineries were involved.
Electricity theft and safety perimeter violations contributed to hundreds of technical failures and accidents across the network, which in turn resulted in large social costs for consumers and businesses. Problems have persisted despite recent efforts to discourage residents from stealing electricity, including disseminating information on electrical safety regulations and conducting regular inspections of electric counters and power lines.
Electricity theft has not only caused the loss of hundreds of billions of dong every year, but it has also forced EVN to spend an increasing amount of funds on anti-theft devices and measures, according to Tran Viet Nguyen, deputy head of EVN's sales department.
He noted that attempting to steal electricity from the network is a dangerous endeavor that puts the thieves and innocent bystanders in danger.
Meanwhile, the country's current anti-theft regulation has been an ineffective deterrent. Legal experts pointed out that while common thieves who steal items worth more than VND2 million ($90) face criminal responsibility, electricity thieves who may steal up to thousands of dollars worth of electricity only face administrative fines.
According to the latest anti-electricity thieving Government decree, thieves who steal more than 20,000 kWh will face criminal responsibility in a court of law beginning December 1. Experts, however, said that the authority will face numerous challenges in collecting the required evidence due to the intangible nature of electricity. — VNS