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Charleston, South Caroline — (METERING.COM) —- July 2, 2006 –Contrary to belief, recent hikes in utility rates in South Carolina has not resulted in an increase in electricity theft. South Carolina Electric and Gas, the utility supplying energy to the region, began charging 10 percent more for electricity last fall only to increase rates another 2.7 percent this spring.

“I’ve been doing the job for 18 years and there seems to be incremental increases every year, but at the same time, our customer base grows incrementally as well,” said SCE&G Revenue Protection Manager, Bill Blalock. The annual theft, amounting to one percent of revenue, has been attributed to neither rising energy prices nor seasonal demand.

Jeff Cornelius, chairman of the International Utility Revenue Protection Association (IURPA) has commented that the theft of energy is far more common place than consumers are lead to believe – in some cases even unnecessary. “Commercial accounts do it as much as residential accounts do. All levels of community steal power from people. It’s the guys making six figures who are stealing too.”