Monday, June 29, 2009

Cuba goes after those stealing electricity in capital

Cuba goes after those stealing electricity in capital

Havana, Jun 28, 2009 (EFE via COMTEX) -- A corps of inspectors will
pursue fraud in the consumption of electricity in Havana's residential
sector starting on July 1 as one of the measures implemented by Gen.
Raul Castro's government starting a month ago to save energy, the
official Tribuna de La Habana newspaper reported Sunday.

The inspectors will go out in pairs through the streets and electric
power cuts will be among the measures that could be applied to families
circumventing the service regulations, the newspaper said.

Prevailing legislation establishes a fine of 500 Cuban pesos (equivalent
to about $23), the retroactive collection of outstanding fees for the
illicitly-used power and a cut in electricity supply for 72 hours for
first-time offenders who are found to be committing fraud, Tribuna de La
Habana said.

Repeat offenders will be liable for fines of 1,000 pesos (about $45),
suspension of their electricity for 15 days and other penalties, the
newspaper said.

The head of inspections in the capital's residential area for the City
of Havana Electric Company, Santiago Michelena, said that during the
summer is when more fraud is committed, adding that up to the end of May
authorities had detected 2,776 instances of violations.

The installation of measures to block the functioning of power meters
and the clandestine hooking in to collective payment networks are some
of the most frequent illicit acts.

The intensification of inspections against violations of the electricity
regulations comes within the drastic measures decreed by the Cuban
government to save power since the economic situation on the communist
island worsened with the effects of the international financial crisis,
the fall in tourism revenues and exports, among other factors that have
left the authorities here in a very illiquid position.

The measures include the cutting off of electricity to firms and
institutions that do not have a savings plan or who fail to comply with
such plans already in place, restrictions on the use of air conditioning
and refrigerators and changes in work schedules.

The restrictions on energy consumption starting on June 1 have saved
Cuba the equivalent of a total of 18,296 tons of various kinds of fuel,
according to official data. EFE rmo/bp

Cuba goes after those stealing electricity in capital (28 June 2009)

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