Belem, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — February 22, 2008 – Brazilian utility Centrais Eletricas do Para (Celpa) has gone on the offensive against energy theft by launching a campaign to educate customers about the risks of tampering, and encourage them to report incidences of suspected illegal practices. In 2007 the utility knew of 13 accidents to people as a direct result of tampering with the electric supply, with nine people having been killed.
Celpa will also spend $200 million on replacing part of its distribution system in the metropolitan area of Bethlehem, in an effort to curb revenue theft. New cables will be laid, and the poles will be longer than those used at present. In addition digital meters will be installed in the homes of 200,000 customers by the middle of next year.
A survey conducted by the utility found that the volume of energy stolen in 2007 could have supplied a city of about 140,000 inhabitants, with 35,000 households consuming 127 kWh per month. During the year Celpa carried out 698,742 inspections, which resulted in identifying 66,654 cases of blatant irregularities.