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… Electricity theft costs GPL $2B annuallyBy Rabindra RooplallFor last year Guyana Power Light (GPL) statistics indicate that of the 205 raids carried out by the power company 10,837 illegal connections were removed countrywide and 575 persons were also arrested for these illegal connections.This was the largest number of persons arrested in a single year, while 211 were convicted.Statistics further indicate for this year as of last month 2,145 illegal connections were removed from various households,Cheap China NFL Jerseys, 167 persons were arrested for illegal connections and meter tampering, 10 were convicted, 76 raids were carried out and 157 cases are pending.Approximately 30 per cent of the population is illegally connected and this has caused GPL commercial losses estimated at $2 billion annually.According to Field Services Manager,Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys, Looknauth Singh, GPL teams continue the raids during the day and night each day, while the power company is continuing to seek out all persons and business entities that are devious and have illegal connections.It was also noted that lots of citizens are being duped by some GPL meter readers and other employees who are not authorized to “test a meter and to identify an illegality.” Only the loss reduction operation section is so authorized.“When meter readers visit a premises they have a hand held instrument that can read your meter from your gate.”The Manager explained that before a GPL operative enters someone’s yard the resident can request proper identification and a telephone number to contact their respective branch that the GPL worker represents.He said that no division in GPL, other than the loss reduction unit, has the authority to deal with illegal bypasses, breaking a meter seal and meter tampering. As such, other GPL employees should not be allowed to “bluff their way” into carrying out such an activity.“And even if they have a badge persons can take their name and number.”The instrument used by the loss reduction unit to test meter is called a “Birddog.” Looknauth said that the machine is calibrated each year by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards, and is capable of testing a meter that has been tampered.In addition,Jerseys NFL China, if a meter seal is broken someone within the household can be charged innocently if it is not reported to GPL loss reduction unit.He added that persons found guilty of illegal connections or meter tampering can be charged and placed before the courts. Before the household could be reconnected the person would have to pay a reconnection fee, and a two-year backbilling penalty.According to Division Director of Loss Reduction,Cheap Jerseys, Kumar Sharma, persons found guilty of theft of electricity in anyway can be prosecuted and jailed under the new Electricity Sector Reform (Amendment) Bill implemented January last.He explained that now GPL could use photographic evidence to take it to the police,Wholesale Jerseys USA, who can institute charges if the consumer is found calculable of electricity theft.The Director noted that consumers who steal electricity can also apply for service but if they are caught stealing electricity GPL can refuse the request.He added that when someone is caught stealing electricity and the investigation is completed a copy of the report is submitted to the offender, Sharma said that persons have to sign that they received the report and if they do not wish to sign, a copy is still left with the individual.Noting that there was an amnesty period that expired on December 15, last year, no one turned up for that amnesty,Cheap Jerseys From China Outlet, and as such anyone found guilty of electricity theft will be culpable and if found guilty, will be subjected to two years back billing and prosecution.Sharma said that this back billing will be done on an assessment of previous billing history— records of amounts used and the reading on the present meter reading.He explained that although a customer is charged he/she can still appeal to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to dispute what GPL found and the commission has mechanisms and an engineer to check the installation and reveal their findings and even ask that GPL explain if they are not satisfied.Stiff penalties are also in place now for the ‘corrupt’ persons in the electricity sector that conduct transactions with persons to facilitate the theft of electricity as they will also be subjected to stiffer penalties.Records reveal that 22 percent of the company’s losses are non-technical in nature and are largely as a result of electricity theft, faulty meters and deficiencies in the billing system.
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