Maputo — Mozambique's publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, in Chókwè district, in the southern province of Gaza, has so far this year recorded a loss of over 11 million meticais (172,000 dollars at the current exchange rate) as a result of illegal electricity connections.
The EDM director in Chókwè, Júlio Simango, said on Monday that the figure was the result of inspections carried out by the company this year alone, when 500 customers using electricity fraudulently were discovered.
"This year, we had three cases taken to court and, from these cases, we managed to recover the stolen electricity. We're talking in the order of seven million meticais', said Simango.
According to Simango, electricity theft is carried out through clandestine connections "and in order to discourage energy theft, some customers have been fined and in other cases, given their seriousness, they have been submitted to the courts.'
"Illegal connection is a criminal offence. The case files have been opened so that the courts can hold them responsible for the damage and fraudulent energy consumption', said Simango.
Simango also pointed out that, in general, there was notable evidence of the actions of the justice system in terms of punishing those guilty of illegal connections and of the vandalizing of electricity infrastructures.
In Maputo province alone, from January to July this year, 72 cases of vandalization of electrical equipment were recorded, which caused major losses to the company, making it difficult to achieve the goal of universal access to electricity by 2030.
Weeks ago, EDM announced that it had recovered about four tonnes of stolen copper cables, valued at about 10 million meticais (about 157,000 dollars).