Increasing cases of power theft in Vietnam raise public concern

HA NOI (VNS)- As many as 2,355 cases of power theft in northern provinces and cities were reported so far this year, alarming authorities who take responsibility for ensuring the safety of citizens and public property, according to Northern Power Corporation (EVN NPC).

These thefts were generally conducted by installing spare meters or metal straps or switching meters, rather than tapping the grid for power as was common 10 years ago, according to EVN NPC.

In An Duong District in the northern port city Hai Phong, someone placed metal straps on the electronic meters of two substations in order to steal electricity. Power flows through the straps, while the remainder continues to register on the meters but in the wrong amounts.

According to Viet Nam Meteorology Institute, the index error of the two substations' meters was 87.5 per cent negative, meaning that 161 kW - worth up to VND260 million ( US$12,000)- was stolen.

Meter readers don't detect power theft until they conduct random checks of the meters between reading cycles, EVN NPC said, so the number of power thieves is constantly growing.

The company added that power theft is also increasing quickly due to the fact that there are no regulations requiring imprisonment for thieves who steal less than 3.000 kW.

Inspectors should be concerned

EVN NPC said it is currently improving the management and supervision process regarding power purchases. Employees will undergo training on preventing power theft and the company will also increase the frequency of checks it conducts on electricity meters in each substation.

High-power users and other clients determined to be likely to steal power will be carefully examined.

The group asked its subsidiaries to closely co-operate with local authorities and relevant agents to raise awareness about correct power usage and strictly punish any individuals or groups who steal power. - VNS

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