Enemalta plc’s ongoing commitment to restrain electricity theft and other related irregularities paid off once again in 2015, as it decreased these non-technical losses to a new low, saving up to €30 million.
The Company concluded 1,220 cases of electricity theft between January 2014 and December 2015. In each case, customers caught stealing electricity signed agreements to pay for the electricity stolen as well as the applicable penalties and interests. Some of these cases had been left pending for years. Customers who refused to pay for the electricity stolen were referred to the Police for further action, as applicable by law.
During 2014 and 2015, Enemalta employees identified and stopped over 760 cases of electricity theft, an increase of 25% over the previous four years put together (2010 – 2013).
Annual non-technical losses in 2012 and 2013 stood at 6.7% and 6% of all electricity distributed to customers during these two years respectively. At the end of 2015, annual non-technical losses were down to 2.85%. This level is lower than the EU’s latest available average non-technical losses figure of 3.9%.
The sharp decrease in electricity theft and other non-technical losses during these last two years can help Enemalta save up to €30 million.
Enemalta’s technicians and inspectors carried out 1,514 inspections during 2015, up from some 800 the previous year. Inspections are carried out randomly to check the electricity supply and metering equipment within customers’ properties and to make sure there are no irregularities. Besides electricity theft, these inspections also check for other irregularities such as sharing of electricity supplies from one property to another.
Last year, the Company has once again increased the technicians and inspectors dedicated to electricity theft reduction. These workers use specialised equipment to detect different types of irregularities. In addition, the Company introduced new anti-theft technologies to its electricity distribution infrastructure. Other engineers are assigned to the ongoing monitoring and analysis of electricity consumption patterns, to detect potential abuse.
Enemalta also maintains strong knowledge-sharing collaborations with international partners and other European electricity companies, to further improve its theft prevention and detection processes. In this regard, the Company is now also assisting electricity companies in other EU member states in their efforts to restrain electricity supply irregularities.
The constant support of the Police during inspections and other procedures related to electricity theft continues to help Enemalta’s technicians and inspectors in this delicate work. Unfortunately, when caught stealing electricity some individuals are aggressive to the inspection teams. The Company thanks the Police for its assistance in such situations.
The Government’s 2014 decision to drastically increase electricity theft fines also continues to deter this kind of abuse. The applicable electricity theft penalties increased from 10% to up to 200% of the value of the electricity stolen.
Inġ. Fredrick Azzopardi, Enemalta plc Executive Chairman thanked all the Enemalta employees working to achieve these positive results. “In 2014, we announced that we had identified a major case of electricity theft involving several individuals. Unfortunately, it also involved a few former Enemalta employees. Two years down the line we can look back and praise the achievement of many other Enemalta employees. These workers rose to the occasion and worked hard to stop this substantial loss of revenue and to establish highly-organised procedures and standards that minimise the risk of abuse and detect irregularities quicker and more efficiently.”
“Restraining electricity theft is an initiative with an indefinite timeframe. Enemalta can never stop investing in its ongoing measures. We will continue to monitor consumption patterns, to conduct inspections and to invest in research and new technologies to always stay one step ahead of individuals seeking to outsmart the system and compromise our revenues,” Inġ. Azzopardi added.
Finally, the reduction in non-technical losses is part of a greater transformation process that the Company is implementing to secure the long-term financial sustainability of Enemalta plc and the Maltese energy sector. The Company’s operations are being reviewed and streamlined. A new electricity generation mix based on cleaner sources of energy and efficient power plants is underway. Meanwhile, the national electricity grid is undergoing a major reinforcement project to increase capacity and reduce the risk of supply interruptions. These improvements will allow Enemalta to consolidate its financial position and be in a position to guarantee high quality, reliable electricity services at affordable rates to its customers in Malta and Gozo.
Enemalta encourages customers to report information about electricity theft and other related irregularities by contacting the Company on 8007 2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be sent anonymously through the Enemalta website www.enemalta.com.mt.