27 December 2005


Rich Panelco III consumers tagged for electricity theft

TAYUG – Several affluent and influential families in eastern Pangasinan have been slapped with penalties and surcharges and now face criminal prosecution for stealing electricity from the Pangasinan Electric Cooperative III.

Huberto Te, area manager of Panelco III in eastern Pangasinan, said the suspects were found by roving linemen of the electric cooperative to have installed jumpers and other “tilting devices” in their electric meters which is punishable by Republic Act No. 7832.

Te said the cheating consumers criminally contributed to a huge systems loss of the cooperative, estimated at P8 million monthly, which amount is being passed on in the billings of individual consumers.

Te still withheld the names of the cheating electric consumers who, he said, agreed as a compromise to pay all their backbillings, including penalties and surcharges.

The cooperative is still mulling over whether nor not to pursue prosecution of the cases since theirs was a crime committed against all other electric consumers who had to painfully absorb the consequences of their illegal acts, it said.

Te said the cheating consumers belong to well known families in civic, professional and business circles, who because of their station in life, would not be likely suspected committing wrongdoing.

One is an owner of a resort, another a restaurant and another a big piggery owner, all of which consume huge amount of electricity. They are however paying suspiciously reduced electric costs.

Aside from installing jumpers, some of these consumers had electric meters without a base and calibration seals, the pointers of which are misaligned.

Others have tilted kilowatt-hour in their meters, while still others were found to have cut-off neutral wire, with self-grounding and flying connections, and having incorrect polarity in their meters and with self grounding.

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